We’re excited to announce our partnership with high school science educators around the nation to better serve our students through the use of aquaponics! These incredible teachers will pilot an aquaponics system in their classrooms during the 2015-16 year, develop curriculum surrounding food security and sustainable food production, and participate in a nation-wide effort to advance aquaponics research with the Institute for Systems Biology.


We will use this scientist‐educator network to crowdsource development and dissemination of transformative high school STEM curriculum related to critical real‐world issues such as climate change, food security, and environmental sustainability. Our preliminary work demonstrates that a scientist‐educator network will create exciting professional development opportunities for teacher leaders, while driving a nationwide, sustainable and systemic change in high school STEM education. This effort will boost leadership skills of teacher leaders and make them proficient in furthering their influence in diverse ways:

  1. The teacher leaders will gain first‐hand experience in developing and executing a strategy to recruit and establish researchers and educators into a crowdsourced network.
  2. They will directly participate in developing and utilizing a social network and web‐based infrastructure required for coordinating the crowdsourced network.
  3. The teachers will learn how to activate the crowdsourced network to take scientific advancements and their research experiences from laboratory to classroom ‐‐ complete with hands‐on activities, evaluation plans, and professional development and teaching aids.
  4. The cross‐disciplinary nature of the crowdsourced project will offer the teachers a platform and a mechanism to move out of their professional confines and out into the state and national arenas.

Similarly, students also stand to gain enormously from this effort. They will learn to work in cross‐disciplinary teams, and become an integral part of the solution to real‐world issues that builds on social networking and distributed learning. The students will get hands‐on experience in sustainable agriculture while receiving cross‐disciplinary training across all disciplines of STEM. The crowdsourced model will allow students across the world to compare, contrast, and discuss their results and experience first‐hand the scientific process. This will cultivate critical thinking skills in the context of a real world complex issue of food security. We expect that the students will close the achievement gap to directly participate in the work force, thereby addressing the projected 47% unemployment crisis due to automation and technological advancement. Entrepreneurial students will have the opportunity to participate in developing a new industry in the sustainable agriculture sector, thus creating new employment opportunities, and directly contributing back to the crowdsourced research machine. It is noteworthy that this is a prototypical feedforward loop that will drive systemic change towards sustainable agriculture.

Are you a high school science teacher? Would you like to discuss the possibility of collaborating with ISB? Contact Jessica Day (ISB Program Coordinator) at jday@systemsbiology.org

To view our other open-source curriculum modules and discover just how many students have benefited from these standards-based lessons, click here.