Greenhouse supports learning at Mackintosh

Littleton school adding hydroponic gardening to facility for students

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Since 2013, students at Littleton’s Mackintosh Academy have been using a greenhouse to learn about botany and agriculture while growing vegetables.

“It gives us the opportunity to grow in self-management,” said eighth-grader Sam Pausback.

Last week, the school received a $4,600 grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation to outfit the greenhouse with hydroponics and a misting irrigation system, as well as drip irrigation for its outdoor garden. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using a nutrient solution dissolved in water.

Alison Weems, seventh- and eighth-grade math and science teacher at Mackintosh, said that she hopes to increase production in the greenhouse in order to support experimentation in her classes.

“We’re very much in the growing and building stage and still figuring out how to incorporate it into the curriculum for the whole school,” she said.

The greenhouse is used across the spectrum at Mackintosh, from kindergarteners learning about the job of being a farmer up to seventh- and eighth-graders raising crops to sell at a student-run farmer’s market.

Pausback and fellow eighth-grader Quinn Yates say that they’ve learned a lot from experimenting with plants in the greenhouse, raising tomatoes, greens, cucumbers and herbs.

They also said it gives them an appreciation of how food is brought to the table.

“You could go your entire life going to the grocery store and never know where you’re getting those vegetables from,” Pausback said.

Weems said that students have shown a passion for the greenhouse.

“They’re very into it,” she said. “It’s kind of become a club.”

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