Learning Love Stuff

Love-Hands-On Learning

What do you love to DO most? Does it get you into flow? Are you totally fulfilled by it?
I’d venture a guess that the answer to those last two questions is a definite “yes”. And for me, that’s the love of hands-on learning I’d like to share with you today.

You’re listening to Fish Grow Plants—A podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.

Hello, and welcome to Fish Grow Plants! Today’s episode is all about the love of hands-on learning.

Do you know what your bliss is?

Do you know what gets you into flow—you know, that state where time flies by but you barely noticed?

If you do, then I’ll count you as one of the lucky ones. For me, I’m not sure, but aquaponics comes pretty close. I can lose myself reading for hours at a time, or completely get immersed in pretty much any task related to my system…or future planned system!

Here’s a pretty good example.

I wanted a reverse osmosis (RO) water system to use as part of the make-up water I add when my trough gets low. I’ve known this fact for a long time. So earlier this year, I actually got one!

And then it sat.

And I got busy on something else.

And then I finally ordered the parts I needed to make the minor changes I wanted.

And it sat some more.

Then I made the changes—and for the record, it still works!

This might seem way off topic, but here’s the point I want to make: I’m glad I got the RO system, made the changes, and now have it working—and I’m most tickled that I enjoyed doing and now I have plans to make it better. At least easier for me, I hope!

Actually, getting my hands on some hardware and creating is the essence of hands-on learning to me. It takes all that mental learning and work and transforms it into physical art. It’s kind of like making the invisible visible. I enjoy it because it’s not just theory, and it’s not just physical work. It’s the combination of the two that produces super neat stuff.

So how can you jump-start your hands-on learning?

By moving and doing of course!

From my unscientific perspective, there are two sides of hands-on learning: 1) the mental learning, and 2) the actual hands-on part.

For the mental learning part, you have:

  1. STEM, or STEAM, which is Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math taught at many schools and evening classes.
  2. Books! Just do a book search on Amazon for “aquaponics” and you’ll have a ton of information instantly at your fingertips.
  3. Then you have specific courses, classes, and seminars you can take on aquaponics (teachers and locations vary, but a lot more options are opening up online as well).
  4. One more option is to learn from someone—find a mentor. Someone who has the skills and abilities you want and ask them to help you. This may be the fastest way to get the results you want.

So just pick one, or several and dive-in every chance you get! Don’t let those empty time slots drift away—reclaim them and get some good learning in!

For the actual hands-on part, you have:

  1. Materials (raw and processed)
  2. Tools
  3. Equipment (that’s like tools on steroids)
  4. Processes and methods (for actually using the tools and equipment with materials)
  5. Construction and building (or how you make your vision come to reality)

Never handled or done anything related to this list before? That’s ok. Start small. Practice. Then try more and more. You’ll be amazed at how fast you pick it.

At a minimum, you can get a basic hammer, some nails, and some scrap lumber (maybe for free if you ask at the right place) and then get to hammering!

It probably sounds so obvious, but it really is.

There is no magic trick to hands-on learning, unless you consider actually doing stuff a magic trick! If you want to do something, just do it! No, it won’t be the way you imagined it, or the way you see it on TV, but that’s ok.

Hands-on learning is more about the process, not the outcome. It’s more about who you become and what you learn along the way rather than what you make.

So, what would be a good way to end this episode?

How about a little practice assignment?

Yes, an assignment.

I want you to make a paper table. That’s it. No other rules or requirements. Paper is everywhere—even on the streets!

Some of you may decide to look up how to make a paper table, a model one, or if that’s even possible to do.

And to give those reluctant few of you a boost, I’ll go ahead and tell you a brief version of what I would quickly do.

I’d have one sheet of paper for the tabletop and another sheet for the legs. I’d tear the “leg” sheet into fourths, and roll them up into legs, or do some origami style fold on them. Then, I’d tape them on to the top. If I had no tape, I’d figure a way to make small tears that would let me attach the legs to the table top.

Basic, but an idea starter.

So, if you have a piece of paper, or two, laying around, see if you can make a table.

Or, if that’s too simple, feel free to take you hands-on learning back to the aquaponics system and get creative!

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Questions! Let me have them! Do you need clarification, more information, or maybe you just have a tangent thought—send all your thoughts my way. See the website for episode details, or just fire off an email to and I’ll get back to you.


So, was this episode good, bad, ugly, or other? Let me know! Comment, email, smoke-signals it doesn’t matter! I love to hear from you. Your feedback is immense, and I am always grateful for it. Likewise, thank you for taking the time to listen and share your thoughts. Have a wonderful day.

This has been another episode of Fish Grow Plants—the podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.

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