Welcome to the Learning Activities area of the E-Learning Collaborative. This section will feature examples of innovative and effective learning activities. The activities and lessons featured here are ones that I have shared with teachers to help them bring their classroom to life. This page will serve as an index of these activities. Each listing includes a link with more information. Since I am greatly interested in plants and hydroponics as a way to engage students in the study of plants and sustainable food production systems, let’s start with that topic in the list of learning activities.
At left are images of two varieties of lettuce grown in two different types of hydroponic systems. The lettuce in the system on the far left is grown in six bins of clay stones which sit in a bin of nutrient liquid. The water is circulated with an external pump and the water flow is supplemented with air provided by two air stones.
The channel hydroponic system (shown at near right) circulates a shallow stream of nutrient liquid across the lettuce roots. The channel system can support a larger number of plants growing at one time (up to 36 lettuce plants). It’s also wonderful for the classroom setting that the channel system makes the plant system more readily available and accessible for handling and measuring during the growth cycle and up through harvesting. The two lessons and design competition featured in this first learning activity feature show how linking the study of plants to NASA space exploration gives students new motivation to understand plant systems and how they have supported life on earth.