Hydro Gardening Increases Students' Interest in STEM: An Update on Our Pilot Project
With a goal of connecting more students across the country to indoor gardening opportunities, The Scotts-Miracle Gro Foundation, Hawthorne Gardening Company and National Farm to School Network have launched a pilot project to integrate hydroponic growing systems into classrooms and science curricula this school year.
Halfway into the pilot year the hydroponic gardens are overflowing and teachers, students and families are seeing the positive impacts in and outside of the classroom. Students are demonstrating an increased interest in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) concepts, as well as an increase in applying critical thinking skills. The hydroponic systems have also enhanced family and community engagement and fostered student behavioral and social-emotional development.
Across all pilot schools, the hydroponic systems are encouraging students from pre-school to middle school to take ownership over the garden, deciding what to grow, monitoring the system daily, and leading care and harvest. According to teachers, student ownership of the hydroponic units has translated into improved attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors related to healthy eating, improved their knowledge about gardening, agriculture and food systems and provided valuable opportunities for peer learning.