- Identify macronutrients and micronutrients
- Describe how nutrients are made available to plants
The goal of hydroponics, at least in part, is to gain near complete control over the growing process. Hydroponic systems are perfect for indoor operations allowing the farmer to control temperature, moisture, and light. Using the nutrient solution to feed plants rather than soil allows for control over nutrient delivery while removing the potential for soil born pest problems.
But that doesn’t mean that growing hydroponically is easier. In some cases, the farmer must be even more aware of inputs than the conventional soil based farmer would. This is true with nutrient delivery. Too much or too little can affect the plant’s ability to develop. Farmers that understand how to manage the nutrient process in their hydroponic systems can achieve amazing results, year-round, indoors, and in much smaller spaces. That’s the promise of hydroponics.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- Container of liquid nutrients for demonstration
- Nutrient flashcards
- N-P-K ratio
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson with a review of what nutrients are and what they do for the plants in general. Then review each of the macronutrients and micronutrients, referring to each by name and explaining what each does for the plant.
Activity (20 minutes)
Divide Students into three teams. Start with Team 1. Using the flashcards, hold up one nutrient flashcard and ask Students to name it, classify it as a macro or micronutrient, and describe what it does for the plant. Have the Students on the team discuss their answers among themselves first and then give a “final answer”. Give a point if they can name it correctly. Bonus points are offered for properly classifying it and describing its value to the plant. If Team 1 is unable to name it, the try goes to Team 2 where all three points would be available. Once that flashcard is completed, move on to Team 2 and repeat the process.
Discussion (10 minutes)
Where does each of these macronutrients come from? How would this process work in soil?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you can name 3 nutrients that plants need to survive?
- Now that you have explored both micro and macronutrients, how many of you can name one and describe how it benefits the plant?
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