By Jeff Schneider & Maria Green Cohen
The PAST Foundation has partnered with Zanesville City Schools and The Ocean’s Friend Aquaculture (TOFA), an Ohio company, to implement a USDA Farm to School grant for 2021-2022. The goal is to engage students in aquaculture, agriculture, and to provide training for students and educators in entrepreneurship with Lean 6 Sigma. The Zanesville City Schools food services will be the primary beneficiary for the seafood produced in this project.
PAST has been working with Zanesville educators to develop and implement hands-on Problem Based Learning (PBL) with their students around aquaculture. Educators are being trained to engage students in authentic work, and students have been participating from the outset by researching and considering the specifications for building and maintaining fish tanks, evaluating equipment, costs, space, and managing time for this project, while gaining real-world skills.
Working through the design process is core to the work PAST does with educators and students. The Design Cycle guides thinking and provides a framework for solving problems, testing and evaluating solutions, and modifying designs.
Zanesville students work in groups to determine what size fish tanks will fit in their space, how many fish each tank can hold, designing storage spaces, and so forth as part of the planning process.
In determining the placement and size of the aquaculture tanks, students laid out empty planters and pots to test their design. They discovered they needed to make modifications as it was too large and the tanks wouldn’t fit. Designing lessons and units using the design process quickly begins to feel natural for the teachers, and students engage in real-world hands-on learning.
The infrastructure needed to support Aquaculture is coming along. The teachers working with students to plan the aquaculture infrastructure are also working with students in growing garden produce to use in the Zanesville school lunch program. To date, approximately 50 lbs. of Romaine lettuce has been turned over to the chef for use in the middle and high schools.