Students take learning to the next level - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Students take learning to the next level

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Students at Red Bank High School have been having fun learning outside the classroom thanks to a new rooftop garden. With city funding and private donations, it started in 2010 as an environmental experiment of sorts--just rows of dirt to reduce runoff from rain and to absorb heat for more efficient cooling of the building.

Then they started planting flowers, fruits, and vegetables in the fall of 2014 and the project took on a new role.

"They're seeing how the process of photosynthesis begins and how energy is transferred through the environment," says teacher Andy Jackson. "Through the plants to insects and then to other animals such as birds that eat the insects as well."

Jackson is in charge of the 60 students who are involved. He says the project helps connect textbooks and lectures to the real world.

"They can apply it in a real world aspect. It allows them to see it actually at work," adds Jackson. "It sticks with them a little better, I believe."

He also says the students have been very enthusiastic.

" Jackson, are we going outside? Are we going outside?" is what he hears from the students.

Junior Sandi Beganovic says he's bringing home better report cards as a result.

"My grades have been going up ever since we started doing this project because I feel like I'm a better learner if I do hands-on stuff," says Beganovic.

Freshman Truely Cervenak likes getting her hands dirty as well as working as a team.

"I like working in groups because we can all understand it better together and we work together to complete a big project," says Cervanek.

Jackson couldn't be a prouder teacher.

"Every one of my classes is absolutely wonderful, and these guys are a great representation of Red Bank High School," states Jackson.

The students don't just plant--they also water, weed, and maintain the garden. One of the students will continue this upkeep this summer as his senior project.

Jackson says the students will take some of the produce home, but they also want to donate some to charities that feed the hungry. They also, at some point, want to supply some of it to the school's cafeteria.
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