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    India Carlson in the Seattle Times Education Lab Article!
    Posted on 01/04/2021
    Teacher India Carlson outside with student and plants

    Washington science teachers get creative during pandemic learning | Home Hydroponics

    The Seattle Times Education Lab: Updated Jan. 4, 2021 at 6:21 am 
    By Hannah Furfaro, Seattle Times staff reporter

    "India Carlson, who teaches botany and environmental horticulture at Ballard High School, gives plants to students during a curbside pickup event at the school Dec. 10. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)" 

    Read the complete article on seattletimes.com

    Washington science teachers get creative during pandemic learning

    "Every two weeks or so, Carlson, a botany and environmental horticulture teacher at Ballard High School, dons a mask and gloves, carts out trays of plants to the back of the school and awaits her students. She hands out colorful coleus, catnip, geraniums and succulents. The teens arrive one by one, have quick chats with the teacher they mostly see over video lessons, and depart with new flora to care for at home. On a few occasions, she’s dropped off plants at her students’ homes.

    “My expectations of being able to cover a specific amount of content? That’s out the window,” said Carlson, who has run the school’s greenhouse for 13 years. “My whole thing is, I want students to be interested in and engaging with science on a personal level.”

    This is science class during the pandemic: teachers turning typically hands-on lessons on their head, and finding lively ways to engage students learning remotely."   

    Sharing excitement

    "The Ballard High greenhouse is home to pineapple plants and a kumquat tree. Carlson has an affinity for unusual plants — especially ones you’re unlikely to find in Seattle. “Mostly it’s cloned plants, though, that I started cloning before school started,” Carlson said. “I knew I wanted to give plants to students.”

    "If her class was in person, you’d find Carlson and her students in the greenhouse or the school garden, getting dirt under their nails as they plant food or work on experiments. These days, Carlson visits school a few times a week solo, to water plants and feed the lizards that live in her classroom. With a pair of other horticulture teachers in the district, she’s working on assembling hydroponic grow kits for her students, including plastic containers, nutrient solutions, grow lights and other materials. But sourcing the supplies has proved challenging because of supply chain bottlenecks during the pandemic, she said. For now, her students have seeds and soil. They check in with a classmate — their plant buddy — about how their plants are doing. And Carlson polls her class regularly to find out what they want to learn next. On tap: medicinal plants, how to identify different species and how to grow food.

    “I’m trying to have students think about [how] science is everywhere, and it’s part of everything we do,” Carlson said. “A big part of it is me sharing my excitement.”  

    Read more at seattletimes.com External Link Icon| Hannah Furfaro: hfurfaro@seattletimes.com


    BHS Teacher India Carslon outside with student at plant table     Plants on a table    BHS Teacher India Carslon outside with student at plant table

    "India Carlson, who teaches botany and environmental horticulture, speaks with Ballard High School student Norah Bunnell, 17, during a curbside pickup event at the school Dec. 10. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)"

    "Ballard High School teacher India Carlson has cloned plants to give away to her students to help cultivate their interest in botany and environmental horticulture. “I look to hook people early on plants,” she says. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)"

    "About every two weeks, India Carlson, a botany and environmental horticulture teacher at Ballard High School, dons a mask and gloves, carts out trays of plants to the back of the school, and gives plants to students... (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)"

    Visit the BHS Greenhouse page for more information about the course.