Elementary school students are reinforcing new classroom skills with hydroponic gardening.
In Nicole Dean’s first grade class at Tenth Street Elementary School, the six foot garden is inside. Many schools, including Tenth Street have gardens outside, but the hydroponic garden allows students to make gardening a year round activity.
Indoor class gardens help students get to know foods which they might not want to try at home, or might not be familiar with. It also provides an introduction to STEM subjects as well as health and nutrition. Deal also says that many students find it emotionally soothing.
What’s growing in the garden? There are peas, several varieties of lettuce, and pumpkins. Dean likes the fact that planting and harvesting can happen year round and is not dependent on the weather.
“We planted on Friday, and they already saw sprouts on Monday,” she said. “We’ve got some tomatoes, and they just got flowers. We have to pollinate them ourselves.”
The hydroponics machine was acquired with the help of grants in May. The machine includes a pump which cycles for 15 minutes each hour, and delivers water to the plants.