Inner-city Students Learn Indoor Soilless Growing Techniques in Curriculum-guided Science Program
In early October 2010, students at an inner-city Chicago middle school studied the life cycle of plants using a new and innovative soilless media. The students grew vegetables in the classroom as part of their normal, curriculum based science studies.
Nearly 200 fourth-, fifth- and seventh-grade students at Gompers Fine Arts Option School, a magnet school on the city’s south side, followed a plant science module developed by steadyGROWpro, a Kokomo, Ind.-based company that manufactures and distributes a soilless plant-growing product used by educators, home gardeners, and professional greenhouse growers.
Students planted and cared for their seeds sowed in steadyGROWpro, monitored germination, plant growth and reported on their successes at the conclusion of the curriculum. Some of the participating students chose their class work as entries into the school wide science fair. Sparkles Washington, a seventh grade student at Gompers, was a first place winner for her project, “Does soil affect the germination of a plant?” Her winning plant was grown with steadyGROWpro. To view a video story featuring feedback on the steadyGROWpro program from the teachers and students at Gompers, click here.
“Opportunities for inner-city youth to experience agriculture are limited at best so we were extremely excited to help educate young minds, share the fundamentals of indoor gardening and broaden these young students’ experiences,” said Kelvin Frye, national sales manager for steadyGROWpro. “Because of the success at Gompers, we decided to introduce our curriculum-based life science education kits for use in the classroom.
The plant science module for Gompers was developed by steadyGROWpro’s Dr. P team, made up of experienced horticulturists, and company representative, Dan Bigg. The idea originated when Bigg and his wife, Carol, manned a steadyGROWpro booth at a Chicago-area strawberry festival in July.
“We met Gompers teacher Tenika Broussard and one of her peers and started talking about how great it would be to put a program together for the school’s science students that taught them the basics of indoor plant growth using a soilless media like steadyGROWpro,” Bigg said.
The Gompers story caught the interest of Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses, an international magazine for hydroponic and greenhouse growers, and excerpts from the article are included. To read the entire article, click here.
*In the photos above, Gomper’s teacher, Mrs. Lolita Davis, helps her student with his plant and Tenika Broussard, fourth grade teacher, displays a bean plant fruit.
|SteadyGROWpro is available in plugs, sheets, blocks and slabs and helps growers maximize results when growing indoor food crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, popular flowering plants, woody ornamentals, vines, ivy and more. SteadyGROWpro has been laboratory tested to produce faster seed germination, higher fruit weights and better overall fruit quality than rockwool. Visit steadyGROWpro.com for more information.
Gompers Fine Arts Option School is named in honor of Samuel Gompers, the labor leader who founded the American Federation of Labor, and opened in 1926 as an elementary school. The school became a middle school and in 1983 acquired a magnet focus emphasizing fine and performing arts. With a staff of 45 administrators, teachers, educational support personnel and custodial staff, Gompers Fine Arts Option School educates nearly 500 students annually and is located at 12302 S. State St. in Chicago.