Knowing that strawberries represent a valuable crop for local farmers and that the plants are vulnerable to flooding, students began by exploring flooding’s economic impacts. They learned that an average-sized local farm (of 30 acres) could face a loss of nearly $1 million dollars in a single growing season. By studying plant biology, students learned that strawberry plants could recover if excess water was promptly drained away—allowing plant roots to get adequate oxygen.
Students then met with a contractor, chemical industry manager and strawberry farmer to discuss what might improve drainage. Their proposed solution involved minor alterations to existing irrigation systems that would allow them to act as a pump—helping remove excess floodwaters. Students build a functional model of this system, naming it the “Underground Turnaround.”
In partnership with the school’s kindergarten class, the eighth-grade students created an “accordion book” about how to protect gardens against flooding and drought—a resource the younger classes will use in planting their school garden