US: Seventh-grader wins hydroponic project

Palmer Trinity seventh-grader Cooper Ruzycki was assigned to create a hydroponic facility that could help the environment. He shows off his model: “You can grow this anywhere; in space, in the rainforest, anywhere, as long as you have a facility and water and energy. If you’re in the desert, you could grow this in the desert,” said Ruzycki.

The students researched the topic, came up with a design, created a Google Site, made a video, and then created very detailed models. “We have the seedling troughs here,” he points out, “and the hanging gardens, and we have the nutrient base where we measure the nutrients. There is a trough and here’s a little sprinkler that waters from the ceilings. We used gravity a lot, instead of having to pump the water up and then down, we pump it up, and then it goes back-and-forth down.”

His model fits on the desk in the classroom, but if it was at scale it would be the size of a Costco. The clean modern design shows how crops like lettuce can be grown efficiently in large quantities. “The toughest part was the leaves. To put those in, that was terrible.” Putting the difficulty aside, Ruzycki says he enjoyed this thought-provoking project.

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