There is a tower of growing herbs and vegetable plants in Chippewa teacher Tarrah Miller’s classroom. The 6 ft tall indoor growing system both complements the grade-level science curriculum and provides an interesting focus for student observations about plant life. 7th grader Daniel Reid has taken a special interest in the project, even staying after school to help set up the system. He can identify the different types of plants growing in the tower’s 28 separate compartments, and can explain how recycled water and artificial light are used to grow plants from seed in a soil-less environment. Seeds were planted at the same time so students can note the varying growth rates of the different plants. Daniel takes time each day to check on the plants and see what has changed, “Hey, this one has sprouted,” he notes, then explains that some of the plants were given a growth boost because they face the classroom’s sunny window.
The Tower Garden was purchased with an 2017 OEF grant through the Connie Osborn Deits Science Enrichment Fund and will be used for many years, inspiring students like Daniel to see the wonder in plant life. “I think it’s like having a Zen garden in the room,” Daniel says, referring to the pleasant sounds of water gently flowing through the system. “It gives the room a nice sense of peace.”