Monday, 30 November 2015
Above is the DC Relay Board from Vegetronix. Four freshmen with little to no electronics experience figured out how to wire it up to a 9 volt battery, a Vegetronix soil moisture probe, and a sprinkler valve. They tested it with a jar of soil as shown below.
Friday, 20 November 2015
Today, a one-sentence lab: How does the moisture sensor indicate soil moisture to us?
This lab went so well! Kids learned how to hook up the sensors to multimeters following the Vegetronix Techno-Gardner video (scroll a bit), how to add water in a measured fashion, and how to account for our soil samples absorbing water kinda slowly.
More on this lab on my full-length blog.
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Toured the greenhouse today. Above is one of the raised beds my classes will be building an automated irrigation system in. There are three main parts to this project: 1) students building and understanding the system that controls a sprinkler valve, 2) the documentation of the system we build, and 3) the interactions with our client (Garden Managers Emily and Joey).
Our system is based around the Vegetronix Soil Moisture Sensor and relay boards.
More detail on this project is coming to my regular blog soon!
Above, James is showing the kids our 500-ish gallon cistern inside the greenhouse. That’s the water we have to work with over the winter for three raised beds plus the seedlings in smaller containers.
Above, Joey is showing students how he determines how much water’s left in the cistern using a bamboo stick with depth marks on it.
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
I asked the kids to set up as many different circuit combinations as they could conceive using up to three lights. One lab group did this. Not quite what I asked but cool nonetheless.
Friday, 13 November 2015
Met up before school with some of the robotics kids to work on the 5S cleanup we’ve been doing. I’m excited to NOT have to sort through 500 spoons when all I need is a knife, know what I mean?
Out at Discovery* today, we smashed pumpkins to add to our composting area. The kids also added soil to our greenhouse raised beds in anticipation of our irrigation project.
It’s cool how my worlds collided this month — leading a session of Discovery put me in the garden where we’ll be doing a physics project the next few weeks.
*Discovery is the outdoor ed and leadership program all our freshmen take part in. It’s a two week on-campus class that meets a few hours every day after school plus an expedition on the last weekend.
Monday, 9 November 2015
Emily came into classes today to introduce them to a new project: an automated irrigation system for our greenhouse. We’ve set the project up where the class is a company and Emily, in her role as helping run the school gardens, is the client. Here, she’s asking the kids where the school garden and greenhouse are.
Above is one of the garden beds that we’ll be setting up with irrigation automation. We’ll be sensing soil moisture and turning on a soaker hose when it’s too dry. I’m thinking we’ll have a system kinda like this.