Beloit second-graders learn agriculture by starting their own farm–sort of

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BELOIT, Wis. (WTVO) — A Stateline school is trying to make learning about agriculture fun.

Students at a Beloit elementary school are growing their own vegetables. Second graders walked us through the high-tech science lesson.

This past year, second-grade students at Gaston Elementary in Beloit grew their own lettuce, with the help of a hydroponic plant station.

“We really hope it helps them develop some responsibility and leadership skills the ability to communicate and share what they’re learning about the lettuce with other students,” said Jennifer Heeren, an instructional coach at Gaston.

Second grader and ‘lettuce leader’ Manuel Salazar says he’s learned a lot about growing vegetables.

“Then you have to check the thing so you can get a little tube and put the water and just check it,” said Salazar.

Heeren says she hopes the lesson will encourage students to make healthy choices.

“As part of the school lunch program to be able to get some fresh produce into the school lunches which is really exciting for the students so this is our second growing cycle in our first cycle we ended up with 6 bags of lettuce,” said Heeran.

“Just looking at how plants grow from the beginning until what ends up on the plate it really creates a lot of excitement for them to try that lettuce.”

Beloit school administrators say the hope is to expand this to all schools in the district as well as eventually grow a variety of produce.

“Down the road, we may look at growing some different things like herbs or different produce that they can include in the school lunches as well,” added Heeran.

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