Engineering Ideas: Irrigation

January 23, 2016 at 9:00 am (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Meet a group of engineers applying logical reasoning, problem-solving, and mathematical concepts to create an irrigation system to make water flow three feet (without leaking) and disburse into two separate cups evenly.  Students were split into teams to devise an irrigation company name.  These company’s were given a $500,000 budget to use towards materials needed for construction, but before being allowed to purchase, they needed a blueprint design of the construction.  Each member created an illustration and the members of each team voted on which design to use based on budget and style.  After blueprints were approved by the inspector (yours truly), they were allowed to purchase the needed items, such as plastic tubing, cups (plastic & Styrofoam), duct tape, pvc, clay.  All of these items ranged in price by foot and inch from $2,000 – $25,000.  Each company was responsible for keeping up with the budget and making modifications to the blueprints prior to changing the construction.

Prior to beginning this project, we researched what irrigation was, how the Roman Aqueducts were constructed and worked, and focused on ethical procedures – which tied back to our previous knowledge from lessons on deforestation and the estuary/dragonfly pond activities.  With every good intention there usually is some negative impact or consequence.

Irrigation Construction

With that, company’s went to work figuring out how their constructions should be made, placed, and would work.  To keep the ethical point in mind, we added a stipulation.  Teams had three chances to make their irrigation system work without springing a leak.  However if a leak occurred, a company would have to shell out $50,000 for EPA violations.  The issue the people in Flint, Michigan are experiencing with water quality or lack their of would appreciate this.  If a company was successful after three attempts they went on to become a multi-million dollar sought after mogul.  If a company was unsuccessful due to leakage or blockage of water flow, then they most likely went out of business.  However, some unsuccessful company’s had ideas to merge to pool together budget and materials.

There were many purposes to this lesson.  The subcategories are:

  • Did the students work as a team?
  • Did everyone play a role?
  • Did their system work?

Students will self evaluate their experiences during this activity when we return.  Thank you to http://www.tryengineering.org for the lessons (some modifications were made).  Enjoy their creations.

CUB Irrigation
Irrigation 3
Irrigation 4
Irrigation 4
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