Ridgeland High unveils aquaponics greenhouse - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ridgeland High unveils aquaponics greenhouse

ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) - Ridgeland High School unveiled a 3-year STEM grant project ($691,000) Wednesday, showcasing a project including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).   Students have designed and produced a fully functional aquaponics (fish and vegetation) greenhouse.   They have fish hatcheries for catfish and tilapia with aquariums for the nurseries.  There is also a solar-operated robot that checks water quality and temperature around the clock.  The water exchange is used to hydrate the ferns.

Science classes do the water quality experiments, proposing problems and designing solutions. Engineering classes designed and built the robot which rides on a track above the fish tanks. Math classes work on problem solutions.  Many Ridgeland students are creating senior projects using the new greenhouse.  

Students say the classes allow them to be hands-on, and teachers say it's easy to engage students when they're working on a project that stimulates their interest in ecology and the environment.

Ridgeland students are especially proud that they did most of the actual construction themselves.  They admit a lot of "trial and error" was involved, having to rebuild robot arms and measuring devices when first attempts failed.  "But that's like real life, especially if you plan to be an engineer," senior Alex Price said.

Senior Nicole Daniels said, "The best part is, we're using these instruments that most high schools don't have in their classrooms.  This could really be an advantage in our college science classes."

The goal is to make the fish business self-sufficient to fund the program.  The school hopes to work with a local hydroponics entrepreneur in Rossville.  Future goals also include internships and business partners.  

The neighboring Rossville Middle School is also included in the grant.  Many eighth graders visit Ridgeland to work on their robotic projects such as remote control helicopters. 



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