Designing a Mini Greenhouse
An engineering challenge
The purpose of this engineering challenge involves research, investigation, design and construction to help maximize thermal energy contained within a plant growing system given a constant source of light radiation.
The transfer of light radiation into thermal energy, surrounding a growing plant, can be control through the design and construction of a plant housing unit that provides greater insulation ability than a standard plastic unit current employed in the classroom.
The design of a mini greenhouse is limited to the size of plants and the area covering a flat surface. Materials used in this design needs to be a good insulator resisting the transfer of thermal energy through surfaces.
The physical dimensions (circle, square, triangular hexagonal and parabolic) and the sturdiness of material (cardboard, plastic, paper ceramic) can be utilized to maximize thermal energy retention.
Research on the design of mini greenhouses helps to spur innovative thought and development of ideas witnessed online. You can modify a known design or create a new design based upon experience in physics and knowledge base.
It is important to be conscientious of the limitations or constraints that you face when designing mini greenhouses. The size of the greenhouse and its ability to be integrated into existing environmental conditions, is a critical aspect of this engineering challenge.
The engineering design process:
ASK: What is the problem? How have others approached it? What are your constraints?
IMAGINE: What are some solutions? Brainstorm ideas. Choose the best one.
PLAN: Draw a diagram. Make lists of materials you will need.
CREATE: Follow your plan and create something. Test it out!
IMPROVE: What works? What doesn't? What could work better? Modify your design to make it better. Test it out!
Students access a wealth of material resources and begin construction on new plant growth systems that are expected to increase thermal energy within plant housing units during germination.
After completing the imagine and planning stages of the engineering process, students begin to create their new mini greenhouse based upon specific design considerations and constraints.