STEM Challenge for Spring: Garden Planter Box
A math-intensive STEM challenge that can be useful when planning out a school or home garden.
Practical Skills with STEM
Why try this challenge? In addition to creating something that is useful, students will be honing their spacial reasoning and mathematics skills while designing and creating their garden box. It may even inspire your students to create a full sized garden bed where they can plant their favorite flowers, plants, or vegetables.
Gather Materials for Garden Planter STEM
First, gather all materials needed for the challenge:
You can use items like card stock, paper, and tape, or have students use building bricks or blocks. If you want to have them make a scale model, set a scale for them that make sense based on the materials you have. You can even procure seed packets or find directions online for the appropriate spacing of their seedlings and how many they can fit in their box.
Go Deeper with Math in this STEM Challenge
Have your students explore using a fixed set of materials. Is there an optimal configuration to support the number of seedlings and garden planter box size? Are there configurations that would make more sense in real life? A square is the most efficient area you can get with a fixed perimeter, but would that make it difficult to rid the garden box of weeds or harvest vegetables? These are all considerations your students can think about.
What skills do students work on? In addition to following the Engineering Design Process to complete this challenge, they will see that math is important and helpful outside the classroom, as well as work together with patience and perseverance.
Kathleen Houlihan is a leader in workforce innovation and she is the Founder of an agency that reimagines talent acquisition and optimizes the system for candidates and employers. Her company, Dream2Career, provides human-centric ROI solutions that filter-in candidates who exceed expectations in the workplace.