An introduction to the process of growing plants without the use of soil developed by the 4-H program at the University of Tennessee. This signature program comes with a teacher's guide, student activity handbook, and a collection of slide decks to accompany each of the 8 activities designed to be a primer into the science and basic processes behind the management of a functional soilless growing system. A hydroponics system is not required to conduct these activities. 

For Teachers
Supported Curricular Resources – See Overview Document for Details
  • Hydroponics: Soilless Growing Systems - Shop 4-H Link to Curriculum
  • Teacher Guide Presentation Slides – Contact Mark Becker to receive a copy of the presentation slides to accompany the 8 activities. Topics include: 
    • An Introduction to Soilless Growing Systems
    • Connecting to the Big Picture of Agriculture
    • Types of Soilless Growing Systems
    • Soil as a Limited, Valuable Resource
    • Soilless Substrates
    • Water and Air Capacity
    • Plant Nutrition
    • Plant Nutrition Solution Management

Key Concepts

  • Agriculture
  • Biological Science
  • College Readiness
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environment
  • Food Advocacy
  • Foods & Nutrition
  • Leadership
  • Local Foods
  • Plant Science
  • Technology & Engineering

For Youth Grades 8-12; In-School and After-School programs

  • Learn about plant science basics and plant care skills.
  • Create opportunities for understanding the application of STEM skills in the context of Agriculture & Food Systems.
  • Introduce skills and concepts required for the proper management of hydroponic soilless growing systems.
  • Practice teamwork and collaboration skills in the context of plant care and gardening.
  • Strengthen their understanding of where their food comes from through hands-on learning.
  • Horticulture, Small Farms/Local Foods Educators and SNAP-Ed Educators
  • Community and civic organizations
  • In-School and After-School programs
  • Local farmers and food producers
  • Local greenhouses