Mini-Grant Application for School Year 2016

Submitted by: John McGuinness Email: Grade Level: 6-8 Subject: Science
Co-Applicant: Email: Grade level: Subject:

School: Ben Hill Middle School Type: Public Grade Levels:6-8 County:Hillsborough

Approx. Enrollment: 875 Number of teachers:55 % of Free and Reduced Lunch:58

School Address:

5200 Erhlich Rd. Tampa, FL 33624

Phone: 813-975-7325 Principal:Ronald Mason Email:

Project Title: Gardening is Out of this World: A Sustainability Study
Project Dates: 11/1/2016-6/31/2017 Grade Levels:

Focus Area(s) :Matter & Energy Transformation- Interdependence- Carbon & Water Cycling - Space Science

Students will research, design, and build urban gardens and sustainable garden systems to analyze the benefits to sustaining life while quantifying impacts on land use and natural resources. Students will evaluate potential uses of vertical farming, aquaponics, and sustainable gardening on Earth explore viability for use in space exploration.

1. How is your project innovative? Students will be encouraged to think outside the box to solve ordinary problems. They will be asked to explore past failures in growing food, to study current methods of growing food, and create sustainable systems that could be useful in producing food in place where natural resources are limited. They will be asked to create systems that could potentially be used in space or on Mars. Students will also be asked to explore how they can conserve resources by up-cycling some components of their designs. 2. How will it fit into your curriculum? The project is directly related to a wide variety of Science benchmarks in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade curriculums. A short list of topics that could be reinforced using this project is as follows. 6th- weathering, erosion, deposition, cellular processes, classification of living things (SC.6. E.6, SC.6.E.7, SC.6.L.14, SC.6.15.1, SC.6.N.3) 7th- human impact on the earth, interdependence, energy transformations (SC.7.l.15, SC.7.l.17, SC.7.E.6, SC.7.N.3, SC.7.P.10, SC.7.P.11) 8th- carbon & water cycling, earth spheres, matter & energy transformation, and space exploration (SC.8.E.5 , SC.8.L.18, SC.8.P.9) I also intend to work with schools Math subject area leader to see this project can best be utilized for enriching the Math standards already being taught. 3. How will it encourage long-lasting change in your classroom, school or community? Creating the gardens would have the following benefits:  Enhance active learning of state standards.  Foster environmental stewardship and connection with nature.  Increase awareness about positive lifestyle and nutrition.  Help students connect the past, present, and future.  Increase student engagement.  Creates an avenue to connect with other local community garden projects in the area.  Increase pride in the school and community. 4. How will technology be utilized? The project will utilize tables to research gardening methods and make connections with scientist working on sustainable gardening. We will be following NASA’s current efforts to simulate plant growth in Martian soil and in space to stimulate the flow of ideas. The tablets may also be used to communicate in any partnerships we make with infield scientist or schools working on similar projects. We will be using soil and aquaculture probes to monitor and track growing conditions. Digital software will be used to design sustainable systems for our traditional earth based garden. 5. What evidence will you collect to show student gain? Student’s scores on state assessments will be monitored to try and determine if students impacted by the project show more than students who have not be on benchmarks address using the project. The students will also be surveyed before and after the project to identify quantifiable and unquantifiable benefits of the garden. 6. How will participants share your project results with the community? The participants will partner with the technology education teacher and students to create and distribute a pamphlet that educates the public about the project’s findings. Attempts will be made to communicate these finding to other schools electronically through partner programs.


Service/ Item Description Cost
Aquaponics Equipment (Tanks,Tubing, Pump, PVC,Trays, Net Pots, ) 1000
Verticle Garden Equipment (Structural Components, Tubing, Pots, Soil, Compost) 500
Seeding Equipment (Trays, Lights, Green House, Pots, Growing Medium) 500
Technology (Aquaponic Probes, Soil Probes, Test Kits, Tablets) 1000
Total Cost of Project $3000.00
If matching funds identified list source: None
Donated Goods/Services:Seed/Hoses/Tool
Total Requested From TERRA $3000.00

I, John McGuinness, certify that the application is complete and final, AND I verify that I have received permission to apply for these funds from Ronald Mason,the Principal of Ben Hill Middle School and any other individuals required by my school district.