Ridgefield third-graders grow with math, science lesson

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Ridgefield — Students in Sharon Floyd’s third-grade class at Union Ridge Elementary School in Ridgefield learned math and science while growing holiday gifts for their families. Each student received a paperwhite bulb to grow.

“We learned that you don’t need soil to grow plants,” said Emma Smithline, one of Floyd’s students. Instead of using soil, students hydroponically grew the plants by putting the bulbs into small glass beakers filled with only gravel, water and nutrients.

“We record the dates and draw bar charts after we measure the number of centimeters our plants have grown,” said Gabe Carlton, another of Floyd’s students. “It’s a lot of fun to learn about science by growing plants.” In addition, the children make sketches of their plants, so they can visualize their plants’ progress.

“Watching the plants grow over time engages the students, and demonstrates why knowing math and science is so important,” Floyd said.

Some of the more-experienced student gardeners were careful to keep what happens to these paperwhites when they blossom a secret from their classmates.

“I’ve planted these before, but I don’t want to spoil what happens for the rest of the class,” said Carlton. “I’m hoping our paperwhites blossom right before we go on break.”