Subjects: Biology, Hydroponic Gardening, Project-based learning
To achieve our mission of fostering "Mens et Manus" (mind and hand) learning, Innovation High School chose several 9th grade biology students who were having a hardship with the subject’s theoretical aspects and challenged them with the task of conceiving and creating a functional hydroponic gardening system.
In researching, designing, building, and using the system, students gained an understanding of the unique needs of each plant (light, nutrients, water) and found innovative ways to meet those needs without the use of soil, sunlight, or outdoor space. The result was a bountiful crop and a newfound practical understanding of plant biology.
In addition to this project’s success for Innovation High students, it also had the unplanned outcome of getting many Pride Prep Middle School students excited about hydroponics projects.
“He picked us for this because he knew we would follow through with the project,” says Jamari, 9th grade. “It wasn’t like a normal biology unit.”
He was Mr. Dale. It was an ambitious effort to grow a healthy crop of vegetables in a student-designed hydroponic system.
“Before this, I didn’t even know you could grow plants without soil, so that was sort of a shock to me,” Jamari says. “I loved seeing something I worked on succeed and not fail. My favorite parts were the first time our team’s plants started blooming, and when the food was ready to eat.”
“We actually made salad for our teachers,” Olivia (9th) adds. “Butter lettuce, salad lettuce, sugar snap peas.”
But Olivia’s favorite part was when the system sold to a community member during the exhibition night. “This was a fantastic opportunity; I’m glad I was chosen for it.”