The greenhouse in the AHS Joe Pullen Outdoor Education Center is in its second year of operation. After its debut year, students and teachers opted for expanding the growing experience with the installation of grow lights in two science classrooms. “This allows us to begin the growing process inside and then move outside once warmer temperatures become steady,” said biology teacher Michelle Moore. Students are learning temperature and misting.
Students in Elizabeth Olgren’s IB biology class used the greenhouse to hold their mesocosms, a closed system showing cycles of living pond bacteria. Students observed these mesocosms for six weeks, and the greenhouse provided the perfect condition to see changes in the levels of the soil. Once seedlings are moved from the classroom students will have the chance to watch and chart the growing process. "By starting plants from seeds, students can start to understand not only the biological and chemical processes happening in front of them, but they can form an appreciation for the work and time it takes to grow mature plants,” said Ms. Olgren. “The students are always excited to first see their seeds germinating and then to be able to take them home, to continue their growing and learning."
Students learned about the structure of the actual greenhouse during it debut last year, and actually changed the heads on the misting apparatus. They moved from a mist to a droplet watering system when the magnified light created through the mist was too high for the plants.