Massillon City schools have installed five indoor hydroponic gardens and the curriculum needed for students to learn important lessons and connections around agriculture and its effects on personal, community and environmental health.
The accompanying lessons provide students the opportunity to learn about the agricultural process and tools as well as the experience of being a good steward, or citizen. "There are unlimited possibilities for how teachers can use these gardens to engage student learning," said Kris Blair, Massillon City Schools Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
Youngstown's Lettuce Do Good (LDG) brings indoor gardens to schools as a method for hands-on S.T.E.M. education. With the support of a $22,250 grant from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, the district purchased LDGs indoor hydroponic gardens and accompanying curriculum materials to provide integrated learning ventures in science and math.
In one example, the high school students from Massillon Washington Pharmaceutical Science Class will utilize plants/spices/herbs derived from the hydroponic "Lettuce Garden". As it grows, students will research the plant and learn its therapeutic value. When it's time, students will then use a mortar and pestle to grind the product in order to add it to an oral suspension, topical preparation or a formulation as a tasty flavored lip balm.
Herbal remedies, spices and plants are rapidly gaining popularity in the U.S. for various medical conditions. Patients use herbs/spices and phytomedicinals as alternative therapies. "We feel that this new course on hydroponics will prepare our students to face the challenges of the herbal/spice market and promote confidence between the myths of herbal versus prescribed avenues to treat illnesses," said Washington High School Teacher, Janice Sprankle.
The middle and high schools are sharing a garden.