There’s an adage in teaching that goes “show one, do one, teach one.” If you want to teach anyone a new skill you first show them how, then you let them do it themselves and finally you let them teach someone else. It uses all parts of the brain and makes the lesson more effective because you go from hearing the lesson (and writing about it) to hands on learning and then combining everything by teaching someone else. If you want to really help a student get the full relevance of a lesson, really take it all in, you need a classroom greenhouse at your school.
Why? It’s just a greenhouse – or is it?
A classroom greenhouse is a cost effective way to integrate so many things that students are learning in their seats in other classes. Having a classroom greenhouse engages the student by bringing book learning and nurtures curiosity. It takes them from “show it” to “do it.” Here are a few ways that a greenhouse integrates other learning:
- Art classes – students have real life objects to sketch, it’s a place to inspire creativity with the colors of nature
- Math classes – the greenhouse is a place to collect data, learn about measurements. Students can use graphing skills and make projections. It’s also a great place to learn about shadows and light, measuring distance / height using higher math formulas.
- Language arts – students can journal about their daily experiences, they learn new vocabulary words. They can create stories about the plants.
- Science – there are great lessons to be had with experiments about what effects plant growth. Students can also learn about global warming, climate change and the effects of heat and light on plants.
Some schools are adding more to the lessons by integrating aquaponics: growing fish and plants together in a closed loop system symbiotically. With the addition of fish there is another dimension and now students can also learn about nutrition and chemistry with nitrates, oxygen and ph balance.
All of the hands on learning students experience is exciting. It gets kids out of their seats and in touch with nature. They learn about their responsibility to the planet and, by growing food, about the larger issues of global sustainability. And the best part is they can teach what they are learning to other students – even teachers learn from the students’ learning.
So how do you go about funding your own classroom greenhouse? There are a number of sources for grants including:
- Specialty Crop Grant: This can be used for seeds, classroom packages and accessories
- Conservation Innovation Grant: Can be used with water conservation in the greenhouse, curriculum teaching about conservation (the greenhouse would be a part of this curriculum)
- USDA Rural Development: Public schools are eligible for grants to help in teaching sustainability and agriculture in areas of under 50,000 residents
- Farm to School: An organization that helps get fresh produce from local suppliers to school lunches (and your greenhouse can grow this!)
- Lowe’s Toolbox for Education: Committed to providing tools to help educators
- Home Depot Foundation: Community impact grant
- Shopko Foundation: Committed to helping students succeed in school and become self sufficient adults
- Walmart Foundation: key areas of focus: Opportunity, Sustainability and Community.
- And many more – start with this website
Once you’ve got the school and community behind you – Crystal Structures will be happy to provide a classroom greenhouse that meets building codes in your area. Our GrowTech Greenhouses are more durable and can withstand higher levels of wind and snow than most greenhouse kit manufactures, making them safer for the kids who use them. Time to get growing!