I must have learned about photosynthesis five different times throughout my schooling, and yet it wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned what hydroponics were. When teaching about plants and how they survive, teaching photosynthesis and hydroponics go hand-in-hand. Photosynthesis is based upon what plants NEED to survive, and hydroponics is a way of meeting those needs in a creative and unique way!
I always love to ask my students at the beginning of our 5th grade plants unit, “what do you think plants need to survive?”. I always get the usual heavy hitters like water, sunlight, and soil. However, their looks always turn to confusion when I say, “actually, one of the items in that list is not necessary for a plant to survive and thrive”. And that look of confusion is a teacher’s favorite look, because it means that we have piqued their interest, and that we have knowledge that they suddenly are craving!
Tips to make your hydroponics experiment a success:
- Place them near a window with plenty of sunshine
- Have students cut their bottles at home (with parent guidance)
- Pair up students to observe a hydroponic together
- Plant a similar bean or seed in soil to compare those grown in water to those grown in soil