Mini-Grant Application for School Year 2018/2019

Submitted by: Nalani Cummings Email: Grade Level: K through 4th g Subject: Interdisciplinary project-base
Co-Applicant:Christopher Simons Email: csimons@creationkidsvillage.coGrade level: K-4th Subject: All elementary academic subjec

School: Creation Kids Village Type: Private Grade Levels:Pre-K through 4 County:Osceola

Approx. Enrollment: 275 Number of teachers:30

School Address:

399 Celebration Place
Celebration, Florida 34747

Phone: 407-900-7708 Principal:Derek Cummings Email:


Project Title: Fostering Sustainability through Technology
Project Dates: January 7t-May 24th, Grade Levels:

Focus Area(s) :Environmental sustainability- Modern technologies- Science - English Language Arts (ELA)

The project will empower 80 students in Kindergarten through 4th grade to capitalize on 21st century technology to foster sustainability for a healthier environment. Creation Kids Village is a forward-thinking school that strives to provide interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities to its students. As the Dean of Enrichments, I develop and lead Project-Based Learning (PBL) classes offered twice a week to all elementary students. Thanks to a generous matching donation from the Garden Club of Celebration, students will build from scratch a 20’x4’ outdoor vertical garden of 10 hydroponic towers on school campus. This sustainable growing system will allow students to cultivate a large variety of edible plants (200 in total) while using 90% less water than soil farming. The system will also generate a higher yield of produce in a shorter time than soil farming, with the benefit of a minimal ecological footprint. The TERRA grant will fund technology equipment that will open up a realm of priceless learning applications for students to fully engage in this innovative learning experience. A digital hydroponic monitoring device and three pH control kits will enable students to measure, analyze and optimize the various growing parameters (pH, conductivity/nutrient density, and temperature levels.) A kit of six touchscreen tablets and digital pencils will allow students to work in small teams to track, record and monitor the growing parameters and plant cultivation progress, to engage in associated online interactive lessons, quizzes and activities, and most importantly to communicate the project’s success and takeaways with the overall community. As students benefit from technology to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of sustainability and its consequences for our future, they will acquire precious life skills and develop into productive and caring citizens. This pioneering project will continue to benefit generations of students in the years to come.


How is your project innovative?   (25 points)
“Fostering Sustainability through Technology” is a highly innovative educational project because it combines progressive instructional strategies, which will work in synergy to help student gain thorough and extensive knowledge, retain information in the long run, and develop invaluable life skills. First, the interdisciplinary nature of the project will help students gain a strong grasp of common core concepts by integrating math, science, oral/written language, social studies and art. Students will gain knowledge about important agricultural concepts such as the life cycle of plants, or how pH level, nutrient density and temperature can alter plant development. Second, the project is experiential. It is proven that hands-on learning opportunities help improve attention, engagement, and long-term retention in young kinesthetic learners. Third, the project will give students a direct exposure to modern technology tools used by adults in professional environments: a full-scale hydroponic growing system utilized in the farming industry, commercial-grade hydroponic monitoring digital tools, as well as Wi-Fi enabled tablets with touchscreen interface and digital pencils. The technology will allow classroom instruction to go above and beyond traditional learning methods. As students become proficient with the technological tools, they will learn that modern technology can bring added value to the farming industry and the environment. By engaging in group work in and outside the classroom, students will also have a unique opportunity to develop leadership, communication and organizational skills. Finally, this unique project will involve students in an effort to reach out to the community at large through the development of video shared on social media. This project will be a real-life lab for best practices in holistic modern education.

How will it fit into your curriculum (include standards)? (10 points)
The “Exploring Aquaponics” and “What? No Soil?” lesson plans for elementary from the National Agriculture in the Classroom curriculum will be conducted to provide a solid educational framework to the project and to meet multiple standards approved by the Florida Department of Education in Science, English Language Arts (ELA), and Mathematics. The tablets will enable students to access online interactive lessons about hydroponics offered by the “Nearpod” portal. Lesson plans and classroom applications will be adjusted to each grade level (Kindergarten through 4th grade) and to the students’ individual abilities during the bi-weekly Project Based Learning (PBL) lessons. Students will acquire a deeper, long-lasting understanding of grade-level standards as they work in small teams on this real-life challenge. For instance, below are some of the main standards students will meet at the 4th grade level: SC.4.L.17.4 - Recognize ways plants and animals, including humans, can impact the environment. SC.35.CS-CP.1.3 - Identify, research, and collect a data set on a topic, issue, problem, or question using age-appropriate technologies. SC.4.N.1.6 - Keep records that describe observations made, carefully distinguishing actual observations from ideas and inferences about the observations. SC.35.CS-CP.3.1 - Write, communicate and publish activities using technology tools. LAFS.K12.W.2.6 - Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

How will it encourage long-lasting change in your classroom, school or community? (20 points)
The entire faculty team at Creation Kids Village expects this project to have a transformative impact on the students. Expected outcomes for the project include: - An exciting learning atmosphere, stronger student engagement and willingness to learn, leading to positive behavioral changes. - A deeper sense of responsibility, pride and accountability in caring for living plants and professional technology instruments. - An improved overall academic performance, and a stronger sensibility for learning diverse ways to explore ideas, theories, and making meaningful discoveries. - An in-depth and lasting command of common core concepts through project-based learning. - A concrete understanding of the plant life cycle, hydroponic growing process and farming industry. - A stronger appreciation of technology and better understanding of its primary importance to our environment, economy and society. - A higher interest in pursuing careers in technology and environment-related professional fields. - A more positive perception of fresh produce resulting in improved nutritional habits. - A stronger interest and involvement of student families in classroom activities. - An increased awareness of the importance of sustainability in the overall community through the students’ outreach efforts. As students take pride in caring for the growing systems and scientific tools, they will have a unique chance to acquire workplace-readiness skills at a young age. Students will grow into responsible citizens who care about conserving natural resources and preserving the environment. As awareness successfully builds up in the community, we expect that families and community members will be inspired to start backyard hydroponic growing to minimize their ecological footprint.

How will technology be utilized?  (20 points)
Throughout the project, students will take full advantage of the technology equipment to grow, document, research, and communicate. GROW: Students will build from scratch an outdoor hydroponic growing system to cultivate 200 edible plants on school campus. They will utilize the commercial-grade digital hydroponics monitor tool to measure, adjust and optimize the various parameters that impact plant growth: pH, conductivity/nutrient density, and temperature levels. The hydroponic pH control kit will help students fine-tune the pH levels for a faster, larger harvest. The tablets will be used for students to log the growing parameters and create graphs. RESEARCH: Students will use the touchless tablets to research the topic of hydroponic farming and environmental sustainability in depth. Students will research the pros and cons of hydroponic vs. soil farming and how scientific progress can have a direct impact on the environment. Using the touchless tablets, they will attend the specialized interactive lessons available on the Nearpod portal and developed by Britta Willis. Through their research, students will be in charge of identifying the best seeds to plant in a hydroponic system and in which season. They will make a recommendation and have a chance to test their hypothesis in real life. The access to interactive educational portals and to the Internet will allow for an immersive, collaborative and empowering learning experience. DOCUMENT: Students will use the touchless tablets, the iPhoto and the iDiary applications to document the growth of the various plant species in the garden. Students will take pictures at various growth stages and will improve their writing skills by entering periodic journal entries. They will use the digital pencils to create botanical illustrations of the various plants and to identify their parts using scientific names. COMMUNICATE: Finally, students will capitalize on the technology to drive an outreach effort with the community. Using the iMovie app, they will create a video of the project and its success, complete with effects, music, and voiceover. They will use the tablets to share the video on social media so as to raise awareness among the community. The technology will help us move away from structured learning and toward a more flexible, self-directed approach, in which students take ownership of their learning.

What evidence will you collect to show student gain?   (10 points)
The progression of the students’ mastery of common core concepts and overall academic performance will be assessed by comparing students’ scores of tests administered before, during and after the completion of the project. Scores of both project-related and non-project-related tests results will be analyzed. A qualitative assessment of student engagement will also be conducted through in-classroom observation and student’s direct feedback after classroom activities and through short interviews. In-classroom observation will allow to assess first-hand the interpersonal, communication and leadership skills that students will develop through collaborative work. Student referral and attendance data will also be monitored. The Nearpod portal will also offer detailed post-session reports of student engagement for each interactive lesson. The Creation Kids Village philosophy is a holistic educational approach to living life to the fullest potential and creating healthy futures. Our teachers utilize a wide range of curricula and methods to engage students in the experience of learning and the passion for life. Our programs emphasize a healthy mind, body and lifestyle. Faculty members strive to provide students with experiential learning opportunities. We recognize a need to better prepare students for a workplace that increasingly favors the technologically fluent. The “Fostering Sustainability through Technology” project will fit in ideally with our school mission to grow productive citizens.

How will participants share your project results with the community?  (15 points)
This inspiring educational initiative will be communicated to the school staff, faculty, administration, families, and overall community through the following channels: - School website. - School Facebook page. - School newsletter. - School bulletin board. - Schoology portal. - Parent Association Committee meetings. - Article in the monthly community newspaper, which is distributed to the 11,000+ community residents. To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2019, students will create a video about the “Fostering Sustainability through Technology” initiative. The video will celebrate the project’s success and will be shared on social media with the community and other educational groups in the country. The produce harvested in the hydroponic garden will be served to all students in the school through educational taste tests and sold to families during the “Friday Pick Up” fundraisers. Students will act as ambassadors for a sustainable planet not only in the school but also in the community at large.


Service/ Item Description Cost
(x1) Hydrostacker - Outdoor Growing System of 10 Hydroponic Towers (includes: growing towers and pla $2,069.85
(x1) Hanna Groline - Digital Hydroponic Monitor for pH, Conductivity (EC & TDS), and Temperature Lev $389.00
(x3) General Hydroponics - Hydroponic pH Control Kit $65.37
(x6) Apple iPad with Wi-Fi, 32 GB $1,974.00
(x6) Apple Pencil for iPad Pro, 2 GB $569.28
Total Cost of Project $5,067.50
If matching funds identified list source: Garden Club of Celebration - will fund the Hydrost $2,069.85
Donated Goods/Services:

I, Nalani Cummings, certify that the application is complete and final, AND I verify that I have received permission to apply for these funds from Derek Cummings,the Principal of Creation Kids Village and any other individuals required by my school district.