Hydroponics Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

How can your students grow things without soil? This lesson plan uses a text and hands-on activities to explain what hydroponics is and types of hydroponics systems, allowing students to learn by doing.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'hydroponics'
  • explain how hydroponics works
  • discuss differing hydroponics systems
  • list the pros and cons of using hydroponics


1 - 1.5 hours for core lesson, plus time to grow and monitor plants


  • Copies of the lesson Hydroponics Facts: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Clear plastic cups with lids that attach and contain a hole for the straw, such as those from a restaurant (two for each group)
  • Small lettuce plants (two for each group)
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Hydroponics nutrients, which can be purchased online or from plant stores

Key Vocabulary

  • Nutrients
  • Hydroponics
  • Vermiculite

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Prepare for the lab portion of this lesson by dividing students into small groups and giving them:
    • Two lettuce plants
    • Two plastic cups, one with a lid and one without
    • Water
    • Soil
  • Have students fill one plastic cup with soil.
  • Ask students:
    • What do these plants need to survive?
  • After identifying, tell students they will learn a way to grow plants without using soil.

Direct Instruction

  • Distribute the lesson Hydroponics Facts: Lesson for Kids and read the first sections, 'Fruits and Veggies Grown in Water' and 'What is Hydroponics?,' with students.
  • Define 'hydroponics' and 'nutrients' together and ask:
    • What does the word 'hydroponics' mean in your own words?
    • How can plants grow without soil?
  • Now read the 'How Can Plants Grow without Soil?' and 'Types of Hydroponics Systems' sections with students and discuss:
    • What are some ways hydroponics systems work?
    • What are the benefits of using hydroponics systems?
    • What are some draw backs from using hydroponics systems?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' and take the quiz together as a class, reviewing each question and answer.

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