While working at the Project School in Bloomington, Indiana, I saw a need to integrate an automation system to the aquaponics project that our partner teachers and students had been co-designing. The full description and design of the aquaponics year-long project is described below in our journal article “What Will Keep The Fish Alive? Exploring Intersections of Designing, Making, and Inquiry Among Middle School Learners.”
For this project, I proposed to design the automation system with 4 sub-systems: (1) a fish feeder with a backup real-time clock (RTC), (2) water temperature sensor, (3) visual and auditory alarm with a small buzzer and LEDs, and a (4) distance sensor for water level monitoring.
I enjoyed the design, prototyping, and implementation of the system in each of the 10 aquaponics projects. It was not perfect but we were able to expose children to the microcontroller boards, 3D printing, and systems thinking.