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Students Explore Indoor Tower Gardening
Students Explore Indoor Tower Gardening

PreK students returned from the holiday break excited to discover that seeds planted in November were ready for harvest in the Idea Lab Tower Garden.

"Was that growing when you were here before?" asked Lower School Technology Coach Christian Cloud. "No!" said Aria.

When then asked, "would you like to pick some lettuce?" There was a resounding "yes!" from students in Mrs. Nancy Reinhard's class.

"There are so many plants," observed Jamie.

"The aeroponics system is really easy to use and as we roll out the program, the students are growing and maintaining the system with only a little guidance. And they decide what they want to grow and what to do with their harvest."

Students decided to take their harvested lettuce back to their classroom to enjoy some salad with lunch. "I love salad!" shared Scarlett.

Lettuce, arugula, spinach, mint, and edible flowers, called Nasturtiums, were among the first harvest. "The students are amazed that we are growing things indoors. Everything on the tower is edible and we have even the most reluctant veggie eaters trying to take a nibble," said Mr. Cloud. "We had a great teaching moment where we discussed how plants flavor a lot of the foods we eat and that a candy cane tastes like the plant, not the other way round."

Each vertical tower holds 20 plants, so the entire class is involved. The tower is also mobile and compact, so it can be moved anywhere on campus to facilitate learning.

"With an indoor garden, the students explore the various conditions that either promote or inhibit growth," said Mr. Cloud. (The corn flowers failed to take root and chamomile is slow to grow.)

"Students are also learning how to farm through aeroponics, measure and chart data, and learn where food comes from. It allows us to speak about the food system as a whole and how science and technology can help to sustain it."

Students thanked Mr. Cloud as they left to head back to their classroom- armed with a bowl full of freshly grown lettuce. "Enjoy your salad!" said Mr. Cloud.