New greenhouse at Windridge Elementary supports hands-on learning

On Friday morning, fifth-graders at Windridge Elementary School huddled in front of planters, looking for sprouts. Although it’s a day they usually spend learning from home, students flocked to the school to participate in the unveiling of their new greenhouse.

“We are so excited for the greenhouse because it gives us a chance to have a hands-on experience,” said fifth grader Kate Andersen during a presentation to an audience of educators, parents and others. community members. “It works perfectly with our fifth year science program.”

In Utah, fifth-grade students learn about the Earth’s major systems – the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Or, as fifth-grade teacher Carla Van Oene said, “Our science standards are actually going from sunshine to decay.”

Between the greenhouse and an outdoor classroom that the school is building, fifth graders will have the opportunity to witness many phenomena they are studying in person. This includes observing the entire life cycle of a plant, from the germination of a seed to its return to the soil to composting.

Students bring leftover food from home to throw in a composter outside the greenhouse. Leftovers churned in the soil include moist materials, such as fruits and vegetables, and dry materials, such as coffee grounds, eggshells, newspaper and cardboard.

The school has studied the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, said Principal Casey Pickett, and every element of the work students do in the greenhouse supports those goals.

From hands-on teaching to community service-oriented learning, the greenhouse and outdoor classroom also contributes to Windridge Elementary’s status as a school of engineering and mathematics in science, technology and science. mathematics. It is one of 14 elementary schools in the state to achieve this status, which is awarded by the Utah STEM Action Center.

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