CAS Activity: Home Garden
In this activity, I took care of the plants under my mom’s supervision. My mother is really fond of plants and she recently bought some plants for our balcony. Having indoor plants add greenery to the balcony and improve the quality of air in the house. I wanted to learn about responsibilities involved in growing plants by yourself because it’s not only fascinating but also a life skill. My goal was to learn the basics of taking care of plants. My mom, and the internet, were both great teachers in this activity. I researched and found various measures we can take to keep plants healthy ranging from finding the right spot, watering in the right quantity, applying fertilizers and cleaning dust off leaves.
Reflection of Learning Outcomes:
Learning Outcome 3 (Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience)
I performed several tasks which were involved in indoor gardening. First of all was watering the plants everyday. Watering the plants is a simple activity, but it’s crucial that it must be done regularly. Of course, there are other issues in this simple activity like under and over watering. I watched youtube videos to understand the problems which helped me to perform this activity smoothly.
I also performed other activities like applying fertilizer to the plants and cleaning dust off the leaves. Fertilizer is used basically to deliver more nutrients to the plants so that factors like it’s growth and health are improved. Cleaning dust off is also an essential part of indoor plant care. It is crucial for the health of the plant that dust must be cleaned once every 5-6 days. Also, very occasionally, I also changed the plant’s pot.
Since there are so many tasks to be performed, I knew I would get confused as to which task I have to do when. This is why I created a plan on my calendar to remind me when I have to water the plants, clean dust off leaves and apply fertilizer. This helped me stay on track and schedule so that the plant doesn’t suffer because of my obliviousness. In my opinion, the planning part was easier than the initiating plant. At first it was annoying to get up, fill water and do the watering every day. It disrupted me from my regular schedule of how I do things.But soon, it became a part of this schedule, and now I understand the importance of these tasks and feel more responsible.
Learning Outcome 6 (Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance)
The reason behind starting this indoor plant garden was purely interest and personal benefits, but I do recognize the global importance of this activity. The world is facing an inevitable threat of climate change. In simple words, humans increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and they also decreased the number of plants/trees in the world, both for selfish reasons. We need to balance this equation and this is a small step towards it. Although a lot of sustainable development goals are related to this directly or indirectly, I think that the most relevant one is SDG 13, Climate Action.
Knowing about this global issue reminds me that there is a global importance to this small initiative by my family. A lot of people need to take these small steps if we want to fill the giant gap we have created. This constant reminder serves as a motivation in the back of my head and I always do the needful with more determination.
Learning Outcome 7 (Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions)
The involvement of ethics is already highlighted in the above paragraphs. But I think there was one aspect of this activity in which it was very clearly demonstrated. This was fertilizer. Fertilizers are great for plants, but are they great for the environment? This is a question which has been revolving around for some time. The chemicals specifically developed to improve your plant’s health are not so good for other people’s health. They find their way into the canal and consequently the rivers and sea. They harm marine life and also us when we consume them.
Therefore, I knew it would be unethical to purchase and use the chemical fertilizers available in the market. This is why I made the decision of making organic fertilisers at my home by using a recipe I found on a planting blog. The recipe involved taking leftover fruit/vegetable peels and blending them into a paste. Making this fertilizer was added effort but it was worth it because at least innocent lives were not being harmed by this change. This again made me feel more responsible and proud as a concerned citizen.
IB learner profiles I have demonstrated in this activity are knowledgeable and caring. I have become more knowledgeable in regards to plant care. I have gained knowledge about this through both primary means, which is physical and verbal tips from my mom and also secondary mediums which include videos and blogs. Most importantly, I have learned the most from practice and self-observation. I have also showcased Caring by taking care of plants and performing activities to maintain their health. Also, the greater purpose of this entire activity is to take care of the environment.
I could connect this activity to my IBDP subject biology. I could relate some of the information and understand the science behind it because of my background knowledge of the subject. For example, I understood the reason behind wiping dust is that the Fan and AC units attract more dust to the house than usual and since the plant is indoor, there is less wind to blow away the dust. Dust on leaves block the leaves pores which restricts the plant’s sunlight absorption and consequently affects photosynthesis.
One thing I hadn’t anticipated was the physical challenge. I had to make 2-3 trips from the kitchen sink to the balcony for refilling the jug which was an effort by itself. Moreover, changing the pot of the plant also required a lot of hardwork and patience (two virtues which don’t go hand in hand in my dictionary). Changing the plant pot is important if the plant has grown a lot because it needs space to spread its roots. You have to dig and take out dried mud which is always difficult and a messy job. Additionally you have to be wary about not breaking the plant’s root or any other part.
I feel that this activity was definitely a success. I have put in a lot of effort in this activity and I have learned a lot of lessons. I have polished my research skills and self management skills. I wish to contribute to society further by encouraging everyone to take a step in this direction. Nowadays a lot of beautiful pots are available in the market, so a plant pot can also be used as a decoration. Filling your balcony or living room with plants is not necessary, just getting 1 or 2 indoor plants is enough to make a difference..