Science Salads Put Healthy Habits on Display


Eighth grade students enjoy their salads after their first harvest.

During the winter in 2020 Ms. Woods and her classes, along with other science teachers, are making salads to give students hands-on experience with more balanced diet options in life.

“ We started doing this to give my students a healthier choice,” said science teacher Ms. Woods.

Plants are grown in vertical gardens that keep water in the base of the tower.  The liquid goes up through piping tubes that moves the water into slots that have rockwool;   they put vermiculite in to help the plants grow because it increases the water, nutrient retention and aerates the soil. Every few days, they check the PH while growing for health. 

 The plants including basil, arugula, and kale take about 6 weeks to grow . Students check the water to see if it’s clean from time to time and when the plants grow too large,  they take them out of the slots and prepare to make the salad.  Some classes have also learned how to do things including making salad dressing or creating their own butter for bread as an accompaniment. Finally, students pick the fruits and vegetables that they want to add into their salad, and once they’re finished building it, they eat and enjoy it.

The salads will occur in class multiple times throughout the year because the plants grow at different rates.  This means students will get to experience greater variety, increasing the odds they identify healthy food they enjoy eating.

 In addition to healthy habits, the gardens also teach important lessons tied to agriculture. The students  learned how to check the PH when growing the plant. Another thing they learned in class was that they don’t need soil when growing the plants and why they needed the sun lamps instead of the sunlight coming from the windows. Lastly they learned how and where to put the seeds when trying to grow them. Students felt that this type of hands-on learning helped them understand more than a reading assignment.