This summer, get your students to create their very own gardens. Gardening is a great learning opportunity and is also a very rewarding endeavor. For younger students, you can start with something as simple as a single plant or small bed while older students can get technical with hydroponics and aquaponics.
First gardening projects
For younger students, beans make a very rewarding project. Germinate the beans between two sheets of tissue paper so that your students can see the roots sprout. Plant the bean in a glass jar with between the glass and the soil so that your student can see the bean grow.
You can also help your student to prepare a garden bed with compost and then sow seeds or get small flowering plants to spell out their name. Get them to regularly water the plants so that they get practice in taking care of a garden.
When your students are a little older, you can create a veggie garden of your own. Use an existing garden bed in a sunny spot, make a raised vegetable garden or create a veggie container farm. Use natural fertilizers and avoid using pesticides so that you have a ready supply of organic vegetables that your students have grown themselves.
Hydroponics and aquaponics
These systems take a little more capital outlay, but they are really interesting for older students who can build their own projects and learn about lighting, electronics and growing botany. Both of these systems can be utilized indoors so you can have veggies all year round. In hydroponics, plants are grown in a growing medium such as small pebbles rather than dirt which makes it more hygienic to keep indoors. Grow lights give the plants all the light they need while nutrients are pumped through the growing medium on a timer. You can buy hydroponic system kits or make your own.
Aquaponics is a revolutionary way to grow your own food. Here fish are kept in a tank and their water (which is nutrient-rich thanks to all the natural fertilizer fish produce) is then pumped through a hydroponic system to make a completely organic vegetable growing farm. Aquaponic systems come ready-made in small goldfish-sized setups that support kitchen herb gardens to large-scale kits. You can order a ready-made system or make your own.
You can add to your student’s gardening experience by making your own stepping stones out of cement which they can decorate with beads, drawings or tiles. Get step-by-step guide here.