La Feria News

The Kids That Smile Back

La Villa Teacher From LF Brings Engaging Learning to the Classroom

Emilio Flores
La Feria News

La Villa, Texas — Rose Olguin, a 5th-grade teacher at J B Muñoz Elementary School and resident of La Feria, has brought science and learning to the classroom in such an engaging new way; having her very own aquaponics system in her classroom.

What is an aquaponics system you might ask? Aquaponics is a food production system that couples aquaculture with hydroponics whereby the nutrient-rich aquaculture water is fed to hydroponically grown plants, where nitrifying bacteria convert ammonia into nitrates. Simply put, this is an ecosystem that helps both fish and plants get the nutrition they need that can be both compact and efficient.

Ms. Olguin test quality of water.

Mrs. Rose Olguin has been teaching for 5 years and has both a Bachelor’s in Applied Health Technology and a Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Emphasis on Science Education.

“I acquired my knowledge in the Science of Aquaponics back in 2011. This is due to a research project I was assigned during my graduate study about water quality. The research project was published (from) 2011-2013.”

The research Olguin has done has led her to have a love for aquaponics and a passion to share about it. As mentioned, she has been teaching for several years and loves incorporating science learning in such a practical and real way. Olguin teaches about the producers and consumers, photosynthesis, ecosystems and biotic vs abiotic factors which are what make up an ecosystem.

The impact has been great, Principal Rivera says that Mrs. Olguin came thinking that it would be something intriguing and engaging for the kids to do.

Rivera says that he saw the passion Olguin had for this and the initiative that she took, telling him that she wanted to engage the students more.

This is the first year Olguin is working at La Villa, the principal mentions that was something that her mentioning aquaponics definitely intrigued Mr. Rivera and made her stand out when choosing a new science teacher.

“One I am a science person, so it automatically piqued my interest,” Second, Rivera knew this would be a great hands-on experience to have the kids learning in a way that drew the kids in, practically “eating out of the palm of her hand,” as he described it. “They want to be in the classroom more.”

Rivera says that the Aquaponics system increased their attendance percentage and has brought the kids a sense of responsibility, where they know whose turn it is to feed the fish and will be sure to keep their classmates accountable for feeding them.

Rivera mentions that even the 3rd and 4th graders are intrigued.
Other teachers at J B Muñoz have also enjoyed the aquaponics system and have been able to incorporate it into their classes.

Their 5th-grade math teacher, Ms. Garcia, mentions that she has been incorporating aquaponics into their learning because she’s seen the impact it has had on the kids. Ms. Garcia mentions that she’s going to be teaching the kids about area and volume saying, “it’s something neat.”

“Sometimes the kids think that they don’t need math,” she says that this makes it more hands-on and practical.

The kids love Mrs. Olguins fish named Nedgy & Speedy, as mentioned, it’s something that gives the kids an excitement every morning. Olguin shares that they will even finish their class work early in order to sit and watch Nedgy and Speedy.

All in all Mrs. Olguin thanks J B Muñoz Elementary School from the custodian that helped her with her aquaponics system to the teachers that have helped bring excitement to the kids. She thanks Principal Rivera, and most of all, Mrs. Olguin says

“I thank God for giving me the knowledge,” “Allowing me to share it with my students.”

(From L-R) Principal Rivera, Ms. Garcia, Mr. Rivas, and Mrs. Rose Olguin.
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