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Ms. Holland from Ventura CA is requesting Lab Equipment through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

Inquiry In Action: Engineering Self-Sustaining Ecosystems

My students need water pumps, zipties, PVC fittings, water quality test kits, plant supplies, and fish food to build self-sustaining ecosystems as they learn about the nitrogen cycle and how matter flows through our environment.

  • $539 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

My Students

It's often said that as we grow older we begin to get less curious. My students defy this. As the school year goes on, they get more curious as they make connections between concepts and start looking at the world in new ways.

My students are curious and creative problem solvers who make insightful observations as they engage with and learn from each other.

I teach at a Title I school with a diverse population of students who show me every day that, if given the chance, they will rise to the occasion.

My Project

As a teacher, every so often you come across a project that is so engaging and educational that it becomes a regular part of your curriculum. For my classroom, our year-end aquaponics unit is that project. During this unit, student groups are tasked with designing and building living, self-sustaining ecosystems which consist of an aquatic and terrestrial chamber; allowing them to study the nitrogen cycle and how matter and energy flow through our environment.

As students establish and maintain their living ecosystem models, they will come to realize how small alterations to their systems can result in big changes, just like in the real world.

At the beginning of the unit students use plastic bins, water pumps, PVC pipe, bulkhead fittings, zipties and hand held power tools to engineer and construct a system that pumps water from an aquatic chamber, containing mosquito fish and water plants, to a terrestrial chamber above, where plants are grown. Students must design a way to cycle this water through their system and, along the way, learn about the nitrogen cycle as they regularly collect water quality data on pH, ammonia, nitrite, and dissolved oxygen. Not only will this allow students to act as scientists and build important skills, but students will also use their data to inform decisions such as when a water change is necessary as they work to keep their living organisms healthy.

Your donation will help supply us with necessary building materials, supplies for students to grow plants, water quality test kits, and fish food to help students maintain their ecosystems. This project not only teaches students important concepts in environmental science, but also helps teach students to be creative problem solvers and persevere through challenges. And, perhaps best of all, it also helps teach students to learn to love science.

Ms. Holland
Grades 6-8
More than half of students from low‑income households

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11 donors11 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 210 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
VicTsing 80 GPH (300L/H, 4W) Submersible Water Pump For Pond, Aquarium, Fish Tank Fountain Water Pump Hydroponics with 5.9ft (1.8M) Power Cord • Amazon Business $7.75 12 $93.00
Sterilite 16428012 6 Quart/5.7 Liter Storage Box, White Lid with Clear Base (Pack of 12) • Amazon Business $25.70 2 $51.40
Lifegard Aquatics 1/2-Inch Slip Bulkhead Fitting • Amazon Business $3.33 15 $49.95
Apollo Horticulture GLRP18 Pair of 1/8" Adjustable Grow Light Rope Hanger w/ Improved Metal Internal Gears • Amazon Business $7.99 4 $31.96
General Hydroponics Rapid Rooter Replacement Plugs 50 count • Amazon Business $15.41 2 $30.82
Nylon Cable Ties - 8" - Multi Color (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Fuschia, Orange, Gray, Purple) - 500 Pieces • Amazon Business $13.65 2 $27.30
Urban Farmer Weekly 7 Day Programmable Dual Outlet Digital Timer • Amazon Business $11.99 2 $23.98
Mudder 10 Pieces Multicolor Artificial Aquarium Plastic Plant • Amazon Business $7.69 3 $23.07
API NITRITE TEST KIT 180-Test Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Test Kit • Amazon Business $7.18 2 $14.36
Tetra TetraFin Goldfish Flakes Food with ProCare, 7.6 oz • Amazon Business $6.53 2 $13.06
API ALGAEFIX Algae Control Solution 16-Ounce Bottle • Amazon Business $10.69 1 $10.69
CNZ 10-piece Green Plastic Aquarium Tank Plants Grass Decoration 4.5" Tall • Amazon Business $4.91 2 $9.82
API POND WIDE RANGE pH TEST KIT 160-Test Pond Water Test Kit • Amazon Business $6.79 1 $6.79

Materials cost


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Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


8 Donors


Donations toward project cost


Donations to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


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Excluded support for DonorsChoose


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Project Activity

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