How can we impact the ocean environment to harvest healthy food and resources?

Questions to hold on to​

  • What resources do animals need to survive?
  • What nutrients do plants need to grow?

Add to your thinking

The Digital Notebook is a space to hold your thoughts, questions, and growing understanding throughout this Unit.  You will be able to access it from every Module. Use The Digital Notebook to jot your thinking, take notes, or as a space to develop your writing. You can print and export it anytime, and at the end of lesson 8 you’ll be reminded to save a copy for yourself.

Salt Water Aquaponics is growing seaweed and salt water vegetables to clean shrimp waste!

Aquaponic Research

Inside a greenhouse off Champagne Boulevard north of Escondido, lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes are being grown in an aquaponic research facility designed to teach others about sustainable farming. The ultimate goal of the center is far loftier: to save the world. Read More

Fish are fed and raised in a tank and as gravity pulls the wastewater through a hydroponic garden, bacteria feed on the waste, breaking it down into essential nutrients for the plants to grow.

Phenomena Board

Investigative Phenomenon Question to investigate What we did What we figured out Connections to the phenomenon Questions we still have
Module 1 How can we impact the ocean environment to harvest healthy food and resources? Multiple reads & Save the Last Word protocol Complete with students. Complete with students. Complete with students.
Module 3 How do the topics related to harvesting healthy food and resources represent the goals of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals? Connect SDGs to harvesting healthy food and resources Complete with students. Complete with students. Complete with students.
Module 4 How can we become experts in our selected topic? Research & Socratic Seminar Complete with students. Complete with students. Complete with students.
Module 5 What can we recreate from nature to make us a more sustainable society? Design thinking around a solution for the problem presented in the launch. Complete with students. Complete with students. Complete with students.


*this module will take approximately 2 hours



The purpose of Module 1 is for students to discover the impact of energy innovations in solving problems. 

Essential Question: How can we impact the ocean environment to harvest healthy food and resources?


Launch the Anchoring Phenomenon 

Curiosity will be sparked by watching a video about the way the flow of energy can be used to harvest food in the ocean.


Sustainable Salt Water Aquaponics


Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (i.e. fish farming) with hydroponics (i.e. growing plants in water). Matter cycles in the system and is driven by energy flow from light. Waste from the fish is used as fertilizer for the plants which in turn feeds the fish. Excess plants and fish can be harvested as food for humans.


Engage (15 min)

Begin class by showing Sustainable Salt Water Aquaponics. As students watch, prompt them to think about and take notes in response to these questions:

  • What do you notice?
  • What do you wonder?

After video, capture/chart  – What are we noticing and wondering about …?  


Explore (15 min)

Show the video a second time – what do we notice watching it a second time?

Invite students to turn and talk for a few minutes with an elbow partner as they think about what else they noticed.

After a few minutes, bring them back to whole class and invite students to share out additional findings. Add them to the class chart.


Explain (30 min)

Prepare to use the following article by either printing it or creating a digital copy for students:

Saving the World via Fish, Water, Vegetables and Fruit: online article and digital copy 

Closely read the article’s first few paragraphs with students, modeling annotation and thinking aloud as they read. 

Review the following questions and then give them a few minutes to finish the article independently. The questions are also at the top of the article for students to reference as they read. 

  • How do the ideas presented in the article connect with the video?
  • What is new information that helps to explain the purpose of aquaponics?
  • What else do you wonder after reading this article?


*You may also choose to quantify how students mark the text as they read, for example:

  • Write a one sentence summary for every couple of paragraphs
  • Ask 2-3 questions per page
  • Underline new or unusual vocabulary
  • Put an exclamation mark near connections to the opening video


Evaluate (30 min)

After reading, organize students into small groups of 3-4. Introduce the Save the Last Word for Me protocol as a tool to foster academic conversations about what they have read. They will use it to discuss what they noticed in the article and how it connects to the video. The protocol should take approximately 15-20 minutes. Be sure to review how the protocol works (perhaps even model it for them with a couple of students) before they begin in their small groups.


Elaborate (30 min)

Show students this short video about Visual Note-Taking and tell them they are going to use this strategy as a tool to think about what they have learned today.

Pass out blank paper and give students 15-20 minutes to look at their notes, the class chart from the opening video, and their notes on the article to create their visual note-taking response to today’s learning. 

You may consider creating a model for them to see how you would do it.


Reflect (5 min)

On a post-it note or on the back of their visual note-taking, ask students to respond to the following questions:

  • What is something that resonated with you from today?
  • What is a question you still have?

Collect these and review them to inform you about what they are thinking as you close today’s lesson. You may choose to address some of their questions as you begin the next module.

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