Garden Engineering

What happens when critters come to the Edible Lab and eat up those precious vegetables we have worked hard to grow?

Well, in Peter Rabbit, our first grade’s core literature unit, Peter’s father was made into a pie by Mrs. McGregor when he was caught snacking in the McGregor’s vegetable patch.

We won’t quite do that.

We DID, however, put on our engineering hats and constructed cages to help us protect our crop.

Utilizing PVC pipes and fittings, students from grade third through fifth had the opportunity to participate in the construction of eleven cages, dimensioned 8’x4’x3’, to be placed around the raised bed planters in the Edible Lab.

Working in teams of 12 members and guided by adult volunteers, students learned cooperation, communication, and team work as they put their heads and hands together to calculate, collect parts, and correctly construct the cage to the specified design.

As all have quickly learned, the exercise was harder than they first perceived. Learning to work together was no easy task. Obtaining consensus and get people to all listen can be difficult at best. But as each team fixed their mistakes and managed their failures (no team passed the “drop test” at their first attempt) to finally complete the final working model, the feeling of accomplishment and pride was evident. The kids were happy and proud of what they’ve built.

It was a joy to watch the children tackling something with real life application. There were no fancy equipment or gadgets involved, just basic combinations of math, physics, design and manufacturing that are the basis of engineering. The kids had a great time. It was a thrilling experience for us adults as well to witness their growth.

Nice to think that we are now growing future engineers in our Garden, too.

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