Chartiers Valley Education Foundation awarded a GIVE Grant to Middle School Family & Consumer Science Teacher Paula Scharding for the “Hydroponics In the Kitchen” project. In this project, sixth graders are introduced to hydroponic gardening followed by careful observation and documentation of their plants over several weeks. Students have already planted herbs and vegetables to be used in cooking later in the year.
Mrs. Scharding described the process to CVEF:
The AeroGardens were set on up Monday, January 19, 2015 and the next day the concept of the activity was explained to the students. We discussed what is involved in hydroponics gardening: water, light and nutrients. Each kitchen group received a plant log to observe and record their observations on particular days. Growing in the gardens are: basil, dill, parsley, tomatoes and peppers. The students were to record any growth occurring and the shape of the leaves. The observations were conducted approximately every seven days but the students were permitted to look at the gardens at any time.
According to Mrs. Scharding, word of the AeroGardens spread quickly from class to class:
The AeroGardens have generated quite a bit of conversation with the sixth-grade classes, as well as my seventh- and eighth-grade classes. It has sparked interest and questions such as, “What are you growing?” which, in turn, opened up many conversations with my other classes. For some students this is the first time they have seen fresh vegetables growing. It also allowed them to observe the length of time it takes to grow vegetables and the adverse effects the environment can have on our food system.
Mrs. Scharding reports steady progress on the planted vegetables and all involved are looking forward to making a fresh soup with ingredients harvested directly from the gardens.