200 6th grade students at the Ipswich Middle school used solar technology, battery storage and hydroponics to build a nearly maintenance-free growing system that will be used by the community. These students in Mrs. Christine Senechal and Mrs. Samantha Colby science class participated in a year-long program focused on creating Sustainable Communities. Ipswich Middle School partnered with Beverly based non-profit Change is Simple to develop the curriculum over the past two years. Students participated in workshops led by Change is Simple. Some of the workshops included city planning, green chemistry, GMOs, renewable energy, water management, and global food systems, energy efficiency and more. The workshops have students using real world tools and applications to solve today's issues and innovate tomorrow's solutions.
The year-long program led to a project that integrated many parts of the students experience; building four hydroponic growing systems to place in the newly established Generation Growers Garden at Ipswich High School. Students new knowledge on the food system, and water resources, along with building solar and wind turbines culminated to this project. With growing population, the limited water resources of the Ipswich River these hydroponic gardens offer an innovated solution.
This hydroponic system uses 90% less water than traditional soil gardens and yields 30% larger plants. The Hydroponic systems will be monitored and results will be compared to plants growing in a raised bed soil garden that will grow the same plants.
The program also incorporated field experts from Revision Solar of North Andover who joined in the collaboration with students, teachers and Change is Simple to install solar power and battery technology in order to power the hydroponic growing system.