The current world population is 7.4 billion (as of 2016) and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. As the population explodes, the need for a sustainable food supply will become an even bigger challenge. Agricultural scientists and farmers will be expected to grow more food on less land. In this project based learning experience, participants engage in a simulation in which they study how organisms interact in their ecosystem through the lens of agricultural science.
In this simulation, students work in cooperative learning groups forming a “nursery company” hoping to contract with Lowe’s Gardening Center. In order to earn Lowe’s business, they must have healthy plants ready for consumers before the planting season begins. The students conduct research on factors affecting plant growth (soil, water, light, and biotic factors). Then, students use a “choices handout” to guide decisions about how they will create their own desk-sized greenhouse. They will also design a blueprint of the greenhouse. They will use multimedia to present their solutions and justifications to an agricultural expert. After receiving feedback from the expert, teams will make any final changes and submit the greenhouse plan. Next, they will set up and maintain their greenhouses. The team with the tallest and healthiest plants (see scoring guide) will earn the business with Lowe’s to sell their plants.
Author: Stacey Guerrero