A self-watering system consists of two parts. An outer container that holds the water and an inner container that holds the plant and soil. A wick is used to join the parts together. The wick allows water to move upwards into the soil (capillary action) from the reservoir when needed. A self-watering system is beneficial for people who may be away for a few days because the plant does not require daily watering but instead gets its own water from the reservoir underneath it.
In the pictures below, we planted turmeric rhizomes which I had sprouting on my kitchen counter top. Instead of discarding them I decided that we would use the rhizomes in our own self-watering planters. We will monitor their growth daily and each student will make the necessary notes in their journals. I plan to let them take the plants home after 4 weeks so that they can transplant their young plants to their own backyard.
Take a look at this video which demonstrates how to make your own self-watering planter.