Jul 232014


The aim of this project is to help students to gain deeper understanding on how and why mineral elements are necessary for plants to grow. Plants will exhibit certain symptoms of nutrition deficiency when suffering from malnutrition, which can be best studied by a water culture (hydroponics) system.  This lesson starts with a brief introduction on what plant nutrition is and why fertilizer is important for plants. After the theory session, instructors and students will build seed starting and hydroponics experimental systems together. Different treatments, i.e. nutrient solutions that are absent of certain mineral elements, will be set up and students will be divided into small groups to observe how plants react and adjust under various environments. Students will spend time on 1) recording plant nutrient deficiency symptom; 2) maintaining hydroponics systems; 3) collecting plant morphological and physiological data.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Tell the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients
  • Understand the functions of N, P and K on plant development
  • Identify typical deficiency symptoms on plant organs associated with the absence of essential elements
  • Explain why water is an alternative medium for plants to grow
  • Explain and apply basic hydroponics techniques
  • Graph data of plant height, plant biomass and chlorophyll generated during the experiment


Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Di Liang and Partner Teacher Marty Green, 2014