Teacher Area

Lesson Plan 2: Investigation and Research

Students will develop an understanding of hydroponics and aquaculture. Lessons will include information and descriptions about various hydroponic systems and their components, plants and how the subsystems work together. Students will also explore aquaculture and how fish and other marine animals are raised in self contained units. Students will the explore how the two can be combined to form an aquaponics system.


Students will be able to:
  1. Describe what a hydroponic system is and its subsystems.
    • Identify the two primary systems of hydroponics production, and the methods that fall under each one.
      • Wick, NFT, Flood & Drain, Drip, Aeroponic
    • Draw and label the parts (subsystems) of multiple hydroponics systems
      • Control, Filter, Pump, Drain, Water, Lighting, Inert Medium, Aeration, Biological Components
    • Discuss four types of tradeoffs presented by generic soil farming and open water fishing
    • Calculate nutrient mixtures to be added to water in a hydroponics system

  2. Describe what an aquaculture system is and its subsystems.
    • Control, Filter, Pump, Drain, Water, Lighting, Inert Medium, Aeration, Biological Components

  3. Produce a simple hydroponics wick system.
    • Identify material suitable for wick systems.
    • Build a Wick system from a kit.

  4. Explain the maintenance procedures for ensuring a healthy relationship between plants and fish in an aquaponics system in terms of:
    • Light, Nutrients, Aeration, Temperature, Water Quality, Flow
    • Be able to describe what a self-contained aquaponics system is as well as the desired qualities of plants and fish required for a self-contained aquaponics system.
    • Identify appropriate materials to be used in aquaponics environment
Materials and Resources
  • Computers with internet access
  • Power Point: Introduction to Hydroponics
  • Projector/DVD player
  • Introduction to Aquaponics Video
    • In this "how to" video, Chris Anderson explains the fundamental materials, process and scientific knowledge that a beginning teacher and their students will need to know to be successful in this unit. Broken into chapters for ease of use, the material will also be available online in the form of streaming video.
  • Wick Systems Materials - See Worksheet Make Your Own Wicking System
  • Wicking Material Worksheet
  • Hydroponic System

    Rockwool Seeding Tray with 98 spots and clear vented lid


    pH UP solution


    pH DOWN solution


    160 pgh submersible pump


    Growing solution: Flora Micro, Flora Bloom, Flora Grow 1 gal


    Hydrocorals (expanded clay pellets)


    Net Pots - 5"


    Air stone w/ air pump


    pH tester (free if you see Chemistry Department)




    mesh laundry bag, used as primary filter for capturing solid waste


    PVC gutter, used as growing tray


    Cotton (replacement for Rockwool)


    Vermiculite, Styrofoam peanuts, gravel, or other inert substance


    Compost Tea (take compost pile with worms and run water through it)


    pH UP & DOWN can be researched and replaced with homemade solution.


    Old fish tank and filter/pump system (email faculty, most people have one taking up space in their garage)


    * Students should be able to obtain from recycled materials or things laying around the school or their house.  


New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards

  • Standard 5.1: Scientific Processes
  • Standard 5.2: Science and Society
  • Standard 5.5: Characteristics of Life
  • Standard 5.10: Environmental Studies
  • Standard 8.2: Technological Literacy

ITEA Standards for Technological Literacy

  • Standards: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 19, 15

National Science Content Standards

  • Unifying Concepts and Processes in Science
  • Science as Inquiry
  • Physical Science
  • Life Science
  • Science and Technology
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
  1. Powerpoint: Hydroponics Introductory Lesson - (1 day)

  2. Aquaculture Introductory Lesson - (1 day)

  3. Discuss Aquaponics and the relationship between plants and animals - (2 days)
    • Aquaponics Video
    • Students will conducts some guided research in order to understand what plants and animals are most suited for biodynamic farming, as well as identification of appropriate materials and production technique

  4. Creation of Wick System - (1 day)
    • Guide to Creation of Wick System

  5. Test wicking material and share results with other classes by posting information, including photos if possible, in Collaboration Central. - (1 day)


Students should complete and submit the student worksheets for the lesson.