Students started their terraqua columns in early December. Most of the plants are doing well, but as expected, there were some problems. We discussed the varying water needs of the plants when students started the terraqua columns, but although they knew that the succulents needed less water than other plants, many of them were over-watered resulting in rotting roots and dropped leaves.
A few of the others were under watered resulting in wilted plants.
Students needed to balance the amount of light and water for the plant in the top of the terraqua column with the light requirements of the wisteria in the bottom of the column. The wisteria in most of the columns was growing and a healthy green color.
Students took their terraqua columns home at the start of the Christmas holiday. They will report their results during the next few months. They are beginning to learn that different plants have different requirements. This understanding will help to guide the conversation later on about habitats and environments.
Each grade 5 student build a Terraqua column based on bottle biology. The supportive maintenance staff cut the bottles for us then the students assembled them. I bought various small pots of plants, then separated the plants so each tiny pot was good for 2-3 students’ bottles. Some of the plants are succulents, some are ferns, and some are every-day house plants. We added sphagnum moss as a bottom layer with a thin layer of sand in half of the bottles and potting soil as the top layer. The aquatic plant in the bottom is wisteria. Although each bottle only has a small piece of wisteria with stem and roots, with enough light, it should easily grow to fill the container. Some of the bottles also have snails in the lower aquatic section. We will keep the terraqua columns in the classroom until Christmas vacation and then each student will take their bottles home with the responsibility of maintaining their “world”.
This is a very supportive group of parents. One of the students brought in all of the bottles; another parent donated money that was used to pay for the plants. We thank them for their support.