Adena Has High Hopes for New Greenhouse

Adena Has High Hopes for New Greenhouse Learning Space
Posted on 12/07/2018
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Photo of Adena's new Greenhouse with Eagle Scout that built itAdena Elementary has big plans for a new greenhouse just gifted to the school by Eagle Scout hopeful and Lakota West Freshman Matthew Hollowell.


“You did something for 620 kids in a whole school community,” said Adena Principal John Mattingly, following a ribbon cutting ceremony at the school this week. “It was a first and it’s a big deal. You should be very proud.”


The idea originated during a trip to Pittsburgh last year where Mattingly and other Lakota administrators were exploring new learning spaces. Six months, 170 hours, 8 volunteers and $5,000 in donations later, Holloway made the idea a reality at Adena. While they are still in the planning stages, other Lakota elementary schools are aspiring toward the same outcome.


“This is just another area outside of the four walls of the classroom where students can explore and gain new experiences,” Mattingly said. “A lot of our kids have never planted anything before. They’ve never had a garden and don’t understand what all happens to food before it reaches their dinner table.”


The fifth grade team at Adena has been helping students gain a better understanding of this process and anticipating the arrival of the new learning space all school year. In fact, teacher Melissa Doll has led the charge in making sure every single fifth-grader plays a role in planning for and bringing the school’s new greenhouse to life.


This has taken the form of a student-led project-based learning activity during students’ daily enrichment time. After researching the farm-to table process, Doll asked her students to pick the part that most piqued their interest and then answer one question: How would Adena go about using a greenhouse to bring the farm-to-table concept to our cafeteria?


From there, they have taken ownership of researching, documenting and presenting their ideas for everything from composting to a pipe-based watering system. Some students have been tracking the sunlight to recommend the types of plants they can grow while others have developed a plan for how to get the Adena community on board with composting.


“Each group has discovered different things that even after 27 years of gardening, I didn’t even know were possibilities,” laughs Doll.


According to Doll, the greenhouse will serve as an invaluable tool for applying concepts that cross multiple subject areas. This includes healthy eating habits in health and concepts like seeds, parts of a flower and photosynthesis in science. Even more impactful, says Doll, is teamwork and problem-solving.


“One of the biggest skill sets they’re learning is give and take,” Doll said. “If their friend has an idea and they have an idea, how can those ideas come together?”


When March rolls around, the students will be planting their first plants in the greenhouse and laying the groundwork for bigger aspirations like a farm-to-cafeteria model and maybe even a farmer’s market one day. “The possibilities are endless,” Doll said.