Special Online Lesson Plan
A barge on New York's Hudson River has been transformed into a floating farm. This unusual urban farm uses hydroponics. Readers will be challenged to think about farming in a whole new way!
Curriculum Area: Biology
Special Focus: Photosynthesis
National Science Education Standards
- Grades 5-8: Science and technology in society
- Grades 9-12: Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges
1. Before You Start
- Project the digital version of "Futuristic Farm" onto your interactive whiteboard.
- Tell students that they will be learning about a barge on New York's Hudson River that has been transformed into a floating farm!
2. Kick Off the Lesson With a Discussion
Ready your students for the lesson by getting them to think about where their food comes from. Ask them:
- How much do you know about where your food is grown and how it gets to your local grocery store?
- Do you think it would be possible to grow some, or even all, of your own food if you lived in a city?
3. Watch a Related Video
Tell students they are about to watch a video about the Science Barge and urban farming. Click on the VideoExtra box that is located on the digital version of the article and watch the video together as a class.
4. Discuss After Watching the Video
Review your students' comprehension of the video by asking the following questions.
- Without deliveries, how long would it take before New York City ran out of fresh produce?
- How much less water do plants grown hydroponically require than plants grown on traditional farms? How much less land?
- What location—that is available in every single city—could be used to grow fresh produce?
5. Discuss Before Reading
Tell students that they are about to read an article about the Science Barge, which they just saw in the video. To connect the content from the video to the article, ask students these questions:
- Lots of kids who grow up in big cities have never seen fruits and vegetables being grown. Why is it important to understand how food grows?
- Do you think you could learn to grow some of the food your family eats? What kinds of produce would you grow? How would you grow it?
6. Read the Article
Have students turn to page 12 of their print magazines. Keep the digital version of "Futuristic Farm" onscreen in case you need to reference it during reading or if students have questions.
7. Teach With This Whiteboard Activity
Download the "Comparing Farms" skills sheet here. Use it either on your interactive whiteboard or as a handout to give students practice with Venn diagrams while testing their critical-thinking skills.
8. Engage in Project-Based Learning
It only takes 7.6 liters (2 gallons) of water to grow a tomato on the Science Barge. If it takes four times that amount to grow a tomato using standard farming methods, how many liters of water would be needed to grow 42 tomatoes using traditional farming techniques? Round your answer to the nearest whole number. (Answer: 7.6 liters 5 4 5 42 = 1,277 liters of water.) For more resources and activities download this issue's Teacher's Edition here.