I’ve always been a huge fan of teaching and I’ve taught a wide array of topics ranging from Adobe software like Photoshop and Illustrator, statistics programs like SPSS, and of course my favorites, growing organic food and aquaponics (or any sort of hydroponics really), and also in a wide array of teaching environments: classrooms to student-centered outdoor events.
There’s just something so rewarding about teaching someone a new skill. When their eyes light up because they understand the concept, I feel like I have a place in the world.
Everyone is a teacher. I repeat: everyone. If you’ve ever given direction to anyone about how to get to a destination, what ingredients to add to a recipe, or even given a recommendation of just about anything, you are a teacher.
The younger you are, the easier you are to persuade. The earlier a child learns about something they care about, the quicker it grows into an unrelenting passion in older age. This is why I think teaching hydroponics at a young age is the best.
I didn’t learn about hydroponics until I started attending my university at Cal State L.A. When I did, though, I became obsessed – researching and watching hours of endless YouTube videos. If I had learned about hydroponics when I was in grade school, I would probably be a hydroponic, green goddess right now, with mystical powers like shooting organic plants out of my fingers.
When it comes to teaching children, things can get difficult, but there are things you can do to make it easier for them to understand. Here is what you should understand:
Children have shorter attentions
- The average American adult has an attention span of 8 seconds. That means they need new stimuli every 8 seconds – can you imagine how short a child’s attention span is?
- Keep your lesson fresh, engaging and in a way where children feel like they are in control. What is trendy at the moment for children in different age groups?
- Ask the children if they own pets. Ask them if they garden or know someone who gardens. Ask them what their favorite veggies are and apply them to the lesson. It is all about engagement.
- Applying to Aquaponics Lessons: Pokemon GO is extremely popular within the younger communities (older communities too, actually). Perhaps you can talk about health benefits of walking around from using the game. Relate health benefits with eating healthy and growing your own food. Eating healthy makes you stronger, like Pokemon. You can also use the information you gathered by asking the questions above and incorporate them into your lesson plan, impromptu style.
- The point is you need to figure out what it is that children have fun with and try to make your lesson relate to that.
Children are curious
- Constantly ask them if they have any questions or if they understand what you are talking about. Some students are shier than others and may need to be asked one-on-one. Let them engage with the lesson by finding ways to apply the concepts to their everyday lives.
- If they have things where they can use all their senses: touch, smell, sight, sound and taste, they are more likely to stay engaged and be interested to learn
- Applying to Aquaponics Lessons: Have an actual desktop aquaponics system with you while you teach. Bring in some plants grown from hydroponics. Let the children see, touch, smell and taste the plants.
- Educators have used my Mason Jar Aquaponics kits to teach lessons about aquaponics. I have also used these systems to teach students about aquaponics. If you do not have access to any, you can show quick and informational YouTube videos – there are tons of them available. Children may also benefit from infographics which are picture-based informational graphics: they are not text heavy, but instead graphics-heavy. If you have an actual system with you while you teach, let them help you put it together.
Children don’t have the vocabulary of scholars
- This one’s obvious, but you would be surprised at how many adults use complicated language when speaking to children.
- Applying to Aquaponics Lessons: perhaps instead of explaining the entire nitrate cycle (ammonia, etc.), you can simplify it by explaining that the “fish poop gives nutrients to the plant, and the plant eats the fish poop and cleans the water for the fish.” It’s a much easier concept to understand and also omits more difficult vocabulary. You’ll also probably get the children to laugh (depending on their ages) by dropping the word “poop” occasionally.
Once you have an engaged audience, the rest will come easily. Feel free to use this graphic I created with simplified aquaponics terms:
Have any questions? Ask in the comments section. Please share post and subscribe to the blog for more helpful articles.
Mel from Green PLUR