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The High Tunnel/Greenhouse Project

Greenhouse photo
Students in greenhouse
Student constructs greenhouse
Greenhouse photo collage

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School: Ithaca High School

Project Title: The High Tunnel/Greenhouse Project

Class(s): Secondary Transition Program, Technology and Engineering Classes, Science classes,  Sustainable Agriculture class

Grade(s): 9-12

Subject(s): Science, Math, Engineering and Technology

Project: The High Tunnel/Greenhouse Project began in 2014 with a vision to connect high school classrooms and departments in an innovative way, and to give students experiences in integrative, project based learning. From the start, students have been engaged in designing and building the structure. The high tunnel has rapidly grown into a nexus for further collaboration within the High School, and across the Ithaca City School District. Teachers at Ithaca High School use the High Tunnel to plan for and implement full integration of a diverse range of learners, and to support student to student collaboration across multiple courses. The project weaves classrooms and teachers together in their quest to build creative curriculum that evolve alongside rigorous teaching and learning requirements for all students. On-going work/projects in the tunnel can be applied to the mandatory 54 work-based learning hours required for the CDOS (Career Development and Occupational Studies) graduation credential. The high tunnel offers a teaching and collaborative project space for the Secondary Transition Program Science class, Sustainable Agriculture (a science elective class), Little Red Farm Project, an after school club, and several of the technology classes, including the Woodshop and Project Lead The Way Engineering Design Development classes.

Currently, students are studying food growth and production methods in the high tunnel on the IHS campus. In 2015-16, Belle Sherman elementary students visited the High Tunnel, with the STP Science class, to inform their research on how to grow food in Ithaca.  They assisted in harvesting the lettuce and kale crop. Major funding to begin this project was provided by Ithaca Public Education Initiative and Lowes.

Standards: NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies Standards and the NYS Science Standards

Service Learning: Food grown is provided to Ithaca City Schools Child Nutrition Program and sold to sustain high tunnel usage.

Experts/Local connections: Tompkins Cornell Cooperative Extension Food Gardening Outreach Extension Educators, Belle Sherman First Grade, Caroline Elementary School and Ithaca High School Cafeteria.