Third-grade builds hydroponic farms

Snack time and sci­ence class have become one and the same for third grade class­es at Pearl S. Buck Elementary School in Levittown. Last year, each class­room obtained an AeroGarden Farm — a coffee-table sized unit that allows the user to grow veg­eta­bles and plants indoors with­out soil. This year, stu­dents in each of the five class­es raised a vari­ety of plants from seed­ings, includ­ing let­tuce and toma­toes, basil and dill. The stu­dents used a spe­cial tool to pol­li­nate the flow­ers of the plants, then fed their pro­duce with spe­cial nutri­ents as the plants grew under timed arti­fi­cial lights mount­ed inside the AeroGarden. 

The result of this project-based learn­ing expe­ri­ence has been sev­er­al har­vests of sal­ad greens and toma­toes so far this year. They have exper­i­ment­ed with chang­ing the grow­ing con­di­tions by vary­ing arti­fi­cial vs. nat­ur­al light or the amount of nutri­ent pro­vid­ed. Like all sci­en­tists, they have been doc­u­ment­ing their stud­ies by mea­sur­ing and record­ing the size of the plants at var­i­ous stages and tak­ing pho­tos. When they have enough pro­duce to har­vest, each class holds a “sal­ad par­ty” dur­ing snack time. The stu­dents are allowed to gar­nish their sal­ads with their favorite condi­ments brought from home. 

Some of the stu­dents are now branch­ing out and have con­struct­ed home-made hydro­pon­ic gar­dens from 5‑gallon buck­ets. Nutrients are pro­vid­ed cour­tesy of beta fish swim­ming in the water under­neath their grow­ing plants, and the stu­dents are proud­ly find­ing unique ways to use recy­cled prod­ucts to build their gar­dens. They are plan­ning to grow flow­ers in their hydro­pon­ic systems.

Salad party in a second grade classroom.

In ear­ly March, the class­es vis­it­ed the hydro­pon­ic farm at Delaware Valley University to learn more about this futur­is­tic farm­ing method. 

At the March 12 School Board Public Work Session, sev­er­al of the stu­dents spoke about their project and shared their class-grown sal­ad with Board members.

In this mon­th’s Neshaminy Update District newslet­ter (, the fea­tured arti­cle is about the third-grade hydro­pon­ics project at Pearl S. Buck ES. Each class has been grow­ing a hydro­pon­ic gar­den, and enjoy­ing ‘sal­ad par­ties’ with the results of their labor. Now the stu­dents are con­struct­ing their own hydro­pon­ic gar­dens based on their research, using recy­cled mate­ri­als brought from home to grow flowers.

Posted by Neshaminy School District on Wednesday, April 3, 2019