Tower Garden Curriculum for Kindergarten

Curriculum for the Tower Garden® by Juice Plus+

Tower Garden Curriculum

 Tower Garden® Curriculum that Matches Academic Standards

 By TGardener, LLC

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Kindergarten Tower Garden Curriculum Overview

This curriculum will help you take your kindergarteners through a 6-week, Tower Garden growing cycle. Although a wide variety of crops can be grown indoors and outdoors on a Tower Garden, the following lettuces grow well inside, provide different shapes and textures for students, and should be ready to harvest in six weeks: bok choi, arugula, red salad bowl, buttercrunch, and black seeded simpson.

The lessons can be accomplished in less than one hour per week.

If you don’t have a distributor go to Tower Garden supplies to order rockwool, mineral blend, and more. If you need help, email me at steve@tgardener.com. I’ve been supporting teachers who use Tower Gardens since 2015.

Week 1

Build the Tower Garden and Plant Seeds

Main Lesson Objective

Building the Tower Garden

The individual parts of the Tower Garden are used to teach kindergarten students to use their senses to classify objects, identify possible uses of an object, and to compare the effects of pushes and pulls on an object.

  • Classify different kinds of objects by their composition and physical properties.
  • Identify and explain possible uses for an object based on its properties and compare these uses with other students.

 Planting seeds

  • Planting seeds gives the opportunity to teach students how seeds are the start of the growth cycle for most plants. Here’s a good seed starting procedure for the Tower Garden.
  • Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
  • Describe and compare the growth and development of common living plants and animals

Other Lesson Objectives

  • Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
  • Classify objects by size, number, and other attributes that do not belong.
  • Develop writing skills.
  • Learn the terms inside, outside, between, etc.
  • Follow simple two-step directions.

The first week you’ll lead students through building the Tower Garden and planting seeds. Since the curriculum uses the building of the Tower Garden to teach several standards, the steps that come with the Tower Garden are a little different.

 What you will need.

  • 1 – 32 oz bottle – (Apple Juice bottles work well)
  • Construction paper
  • A few older students or adult helpers to help students plant seeds
  • Seeds: bok choi, arugula, red salad bowl, buttercrunch, and black seeded simpson grow well

Week 1

Plan and conduct an investigation using all senses to describe and classify different kinds of objects by their composition and physical properties. Explain these choices to others and generate questions about the objects.

Have students touch, smell, and look at the different parts of the Tower Garden® and talk about the differences and similarities of each part. Example: netpots are flexible while the tower parts aren’t..

Identify and explain possible uses for an object based on its properties and compare these uses with other students’ ideas.

Get ideas from students about how the parts will be used in the Tower Garden and also how they might be used outside of the Tower Garden.

Identify, sort, and classify objects by size, number, and other attributes. Identify objects that do not belong to a particular group and explain the reasoning used.

Measure the Tower Garden parts to classify them by size and shape.  Count the number of each part to sort by number.  Ask students to explain their reasoning behind why the tub doesn’t belong to any other group.

Observe the differences between the netpots and the pieces of the actual tower. Measure each object to show students that the pieces of the tower are the same size, the netpots are the same size, etc. and place them together.

Build the Tower Garden with your students

Do not put water in the tub or insert the netpots.  As you build the Tower Garden, have students stand next to the pieces as they are placed to see when the tower is taller than they are.

Build the light cage with the students and place the lights on the light cage. Connect the lights to the timer and show students how the timer will go on and off when needed. Set the timer for 12 hours on, 12 hours off. (These directions don’t apply to the new LED lights that now come with the Tower Garden. See instructions that come with the new light kit for installation directions.)

Tower Garden Journal
In their Tower Garden journals, have students draw pictures of the different parts of the Tower Garden and write about building the Tower Garden.

Planting Seeds

Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions.

Describe and compare the growth and development of common living plants and animals.

      As students plant seeds, explain that the seed is the start of the life cycle for many plants and how the seeds will germinate to produce the plant.

Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

As students plant seeds, talk about how seeds need water to germinate and grow into plants.

Plant seeds in rockwool. (Good seeds to plant for different textures and shapes: bok choi, arugula, red salad bowl, buttercrunch, black seeded simpson. These will be ready to harvest in 5-6 weeks.)

Give each student an empty butter (or similar) container that will fit two rockwool cubes. Cut construction paper the size of the containers to cover the rockwool. Have your helpers pour seeds onto the construction paper and ask students to pick up the seeds and sprinkle 6 or 7 seeds into the hole in the rockwool. Write names of students and lettuce varieties on masking tape and place masking tape on side of container.

Each day, ask students to check if seedlings have sprouted and replace the water in the butter container with ¼” of fresh, pH adjusted water. At the first sign of growth (you’ll see a little bit of fuzz by the seeds.) uncover the seedlings and place them on the Tower Garden base and turn on the lights. Continue to replace the water with ¼” each day. If planted on Monday, most lettuce seeds will have sprouted by Wednesday.

Tower Garden Journals
In their Tower Garden journals, have students draw a picture and write what they think their plants will look like.

Week 2

Put seedlings in the Tower Garden

 Main Lesson Objective

 The design of the Tower Garden

This week students discover how the design of the Tower Garden helps it keep the plants watered.

Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate and investigate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve an identified problem.

Other lesson objectives

  • Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive
  • Make direct comparisons of the length, capacity, weight, and temperature of objects
  • Write whole numbers from 0-20
  • Use objects to represent addition and subtraction within 10
  • Count up to 20 objects arranged in a line
  • Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions
  • Develop writing skills

Tower Garden exercise:
Fill the tub with water and place the seedlings into the ports. (Make sure the rockwool is pushed all the way into the port.)

You will need different size containers that hold water and masking tape.

Week 2

Make direct comparisons of the length, capacity, weight, and temperature of objects, and recognize which object is shorter, longer, taller, lighter, heavier, warmer, cooler, or holds more.

Fill the Tower Garden tub with un-softened water

When you’re done with this lesson, plug the pump into the timer and set it for 15 minutes on, 45 minutes off for indoor growing. If you have a pump with a switch, set the pump to ‘I’ for indoor growing.

Use different size containers to put the water into the Tower Garden. Talk about which size holds more water and how much each container weighs. Talk about the temperature of the water. If you have a thermometer, take the temperature of the water as it’s going in. Measure out 200 ml of Tower Tonic ‘A’ and 200 ml of Tower Tonic ‘B’ and pour into the Tower Garden base while pointing out to students the size of the container used to measure. Balance the pH of the water and talk about how much water was used and how many drops of pH tester were used.  (See directions on the pH test kit.)  If the pH is off, adjust it gradually by using 10 ml at a time of pH up or pH down, retesting each time.

Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate and investigate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve an identified problem.

Present the problem to students that the water needs to get to the plants once they’re in the Tower Garden.  Talk about how the pump will pump water through the pipe in the middle of each piece to the top of the Tower Garden, that the water will spread out, drain through the holes, and run down onto the rockwool that’s placed inside the netpots getting the roots of the plants wet.  Turn on the pump so students can see how it works.

Write whole numbers from 0 to 20 and recognize number words from 0 to 10. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).

Have students, one at a time, come to the Tower Garden and write a number (1-28) on masking tape. Place the masking tape under the Tower Garden planting ports.

Talk about how one numbered Tower Garden port is between, to the right and left of other numbered ports.

Use objects, drawings, mental images, sounds, etc., to represent addition and subtraction within 10.

Use the netpots as manipulatives to represent addition and subtraction within 10.

Count up to 20 objects arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle. Count up to 10 objects in a scattered configuration. Count out the number of objects, given a number from 1 to 20.

Use the 28 netpots as manipulatives for students to arrange and practice counting. Have students count the netpots as they’re placed into the Tower Garden.

Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions.

Ask students to choose a plant and place their seedling in a specific port on the Tower Garden. Remove the masking tape from the container and place it on the Tower Garden near the student’s plants.

Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive

After the seedlings are in the Tower Garden talk about how plants need light to survive, but also that plants need ‘sleep’ just like humans do, so it’s best for the lights to be turned off at night.

Tower Garden Journals

Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate and investigate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve an identified problem.

Students draw a picture of how the plants get water on a Tower Garden and describe with simple sentences the process.

Week 3

Main Lesson Objective

By week 3 students should be able to recognize differences in the plants. 

  • Describe and compare the growth and development of common living plants.
  • Describe and compare the physical features of common living plants and animals.

Other Objective

  • Make direct comparisons of length, capacity, weight, etc. (Review)
  • Follow simple two-step directions (Review)
  • Develop writing skills

Tower Garden exercise:
Add water, Tower Tonic and balance pH.  (About 2 gallons of water will need to be added.

Week 3

Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions. (Review)

Make direct comparisons of the length, capacity, weight, and temperature of objects, and recognize which object is shorter, longer, taller, lighter, heavier, warmer, cooler, or holds more.

Ask students to fill up containers and pour water into the Tower Garden base to fill it to 3 inches from the top. (About 2 gallons will be required)

Describe and compare the growth and development of common living plants and animals

The plants should be large enough for students to begin to see differences in growth between varieties of plants.

 Describe and compare the physical features of common living plants and animals.

Have students compare the physical features of the different types of lettuce growing.

Tower Garden Journals

Have students record in their Tower Garden journals what the difference is between the growing plants.

Week 4

Main Lesson Objective

Students will see the roots of a plant and begin a simple experiment to see that plants need light to grow well.

  • Describe and compare the physical features of common living plants and animals
  • Describe patterns of what plants need to survive

 Other Objectives

  • Follow simple two-step directions (Review)
  • Make direct comparisons of length, capacity, weight, etc. (Review)
  • Describe and compare the growth of common living plants
  • Develop writing skills

Tower Garden Exercise

Add water, Tower Tonic, and balance pH. (About 2 gallons of water will need to be added.)

Week 4

Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions. (Review)

Make direct comparisons of the length, capacity, weight, and temperature of objects, and recognize which object is shorter, longer, taller, lighter, heavier, warmer, cooler, or holds more.

Ask students to fill up containers and pour water into the Tower Garden base to fill it to 3 inches from the top. (About 2 gallons will be required)

Describe and compare the physical features of common living plants and animals.

Cut a small amount of various lettuce leaves and pass them around the class for students to describe and compare the features.

Pull one plant to compare root structures. (Teach inside/outside)

Pass around seeds that match what’s growing in the Tower Garden and compare the seeds to the mature plants.

Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive

Talk about how most plants need light to survive.

Cover one plant with a cup to block the light.  By the next week, you should see the covered plant is smaller and less green than the other plants.

Talk about how plants don’t need soil to grow. They need nutrients, light, and water. Nutrients are contained in the soil in which plants grow. The Tower Tonic that students add weekly replaces the nutrients that are in the soil.

Describe and compare the growth and development of common living plants and animals

Talk about the differences in the plants with your students.

Tower Garden Journals
Have students draw pictures and write simple sentences describing how they think the plant will be affected that’s covered.

Week 5

Main Lesson Objective

Uncover the plant so students can see how not growing in light for a week has affected the plant.

Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive

Other Lesson Objectives

  • Follow simple two-step directions (Review)
  • Make direct comparisons of length, capacity, weight, etc. (Review)
  • Develop writing skills

Add water, Tower Tonic and balance pH. (About 2 gallons of water will need to be added.)

Week 5

Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions. (Review)

Make direct comparisons of the length, capacity, weight, and temperature of objects, and recognize which object is shorter, longer, taller, lighter, heavier, warmer, cooler, or holds more.

Ask students to fill up containers and pour water into the Tower Garden base to fill it to 3 inches from the top. (About 2 gallons will be required) Take the temperature of the water in the tap and compare it to the temperature of the water in the tub. Compare the length and size of the different leaves of lettuce.

Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive

Uncover the plant that was covered the week before. Observe differences in size and color from the other plants.  Talk about how most plants need light to grow well.

Tower Garden Journals
Have students record in their Tower Garden journals what’s different about the plant that was covered compared to the other plants.

Week 6

Main Lesson Objective

Talk with students about the benefit to our environment of growing on a Tower Garden

Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

Other Lesson Objectives

Watch your students have fun eating the lettuce they’ve grown themselves!

Week 6

Plants should be large enough to harvest and eat. If not, wait another week.  Have a salad party with students tasting the lettuce and deciding which varieties they like and which they don’t like.

Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

Talk with your students about how the Tower Garden uses less water than conventional farming to grow veggies helping to lessen the impact humans have on our water supply.

Tower Garden Journals
Have students record in their Tower Garden journals what they liked and didn’t like about the taste of the lettuce varieties.

If you need supplies and don’t have a distributor you can order rockwool, mineral blend, and more from my website at skoontz.towergarden.com. If you need help or a new Tower Garden, email me at steve@tgardener.com. I’ve been supporting teachers who use Tower Gardens since 2015.

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