computational thinking: considering a problem in a way that a computer can help us to solve it
innovation: a new method, idea, or product
microcontroller : a tiny computer that makes coding tangible and promotes digital creativity
prototype: an original model on which something is patterned
Background Agricultural Connections
Water Ops for Growing is a Project-Based Learning (PBL) plan. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.1
A quality PBL experience requires seven essential elements.
Challenging Problem or Question: The project is framed by a meaningful problem to be solved or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
Sustained Inquiry: Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of posing questions, finding resources, and applying information.
Authenticity: The project involves real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact, or the project speaks to personal concerns, interests, and issues in the students' lives.
Voice and Choice: Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
Reflection: Students and teachers reflect on the learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, and obstacles that arise and strategies for overcoming them.
Critique and Revision: Students give, receive, and apply feedback to improve their process and products.
Public Product: Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying, and/or presenting it to audiences beyond the classroom.2
In this project, students will learn about microcontrollers (micro:bit), explore the basics of programming, participate in design challenges, build a moisture sensor and water pump, and make a video about their product.
Microcontrollers (micro:bit) are tuny computers that make coding tangible and promote digital creativity. The user creates a program to tell it what to do using one of the online code editors and then downloads it to a computer as a .hex file—a version of the program that the micro:bit can read.
Micro:bit is the microcontroller used for this plan. There are many other microcontrollers used in classrooms and prototyping such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi. The micro:bit was given free to millions of students in the UK in 2016. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and a great gateway into the world of computer science.
At the beginning of the project, students are introduced to key content using a compelling situation that provides context and serves as a catalyst for an authentic problem or challenge. In Project-Based Learning (PBL), this authentic problem/challenge is referred to as an "Entry Event." Students use the Entry Event to initiate inquiry by reflecting on their prior knowledge of the key content, generating questions that they need to know the answers to in order to successfully complete the project or process that will solve the problem, and identifying what their next steps might be to answer their questions. These questions are used in an ongoing way throughout the project to track learning and guide inquiry.3 While students may have several questions, one driving question needs to be agreed upon that, when answered, should address the initial situation. Refer to Milestone 1 for Entry Event procedures.
Explore and Explain
In PBL, projects are organized into milestones. Each milestone represents a significant stage of the project. Click on each milestone below to access instructional procedures.
We welcome your feedback. Please take a minute to share your thoughts on this lesson.
State Standards for Utah
Grade 7: College and Career Awareness Strand 1
Students will assess their interest and aptitudes and explore related career options based on current Career and Technical Education (CTE) Career Clusters and Pathways.
Standard 3: Explore the current Utah career clusters and pathways associated with each cluster and analyze the overlapping academic content and skills. - a) Agriculture, food, and natural resources b) Architecture and construction c) Arts, audio/visual technology, and communication d) Business, finance, and marketing e) Education training f) Engineering and technology g) Health science h) Hospitality and tourism i) Human services j) Information technology k) Law, public safety, corrections, and security l) manufacturing m) Transportation, distribution, and logistics
Grade 7-8: Exploring Technology Strand 1
Students will follow safety practices.
Standard 1 - Identify potential safety hazards and follow general laboratory safety practices. a) Assess workplace conditions regarding safety and health. b) Identify potential safety issues and align with relevant safety standards to ensure a safe workplace/jobsite. c) Locate and understand the use of shop safety equipment. d) Select appropriate personal protective equipment.
Standard 2 - Use safe work practices. a) Use personal protective equipment according to manufacturer rules and regulations. b) Follow correct procedures when using any hand or power tools. c) Ref: https://schools.utah.gov/cte/engineering/resources under the Safety Program and Management tab.
Grade 7-8: Exploring Technology Strand 2
Students will develop an understanding of the characteristics and scope of technology, the core concepts of technology, and the relationships among and between technologies and other fields of study.
Standard 1 - In order to comprehend the scope of technology, students should learn that: a) New products and systems can be developed to solve problems or to help do things that could not be done without the help of technology. b) The development of technology is a human activity and is the result of individual or collective needs and the ability to be creative. c) Technology is closely linked to creativity, which has resulted in innovation. d) Corporations can often create demand for a product by bringing it onto the market and advertising it.
Standard 2 - In order to recognize the core concepts of technology, students should learn that: a) Technological systems include input, processes, output, and, at times, feedback. b) Systems thinking involves considering how every part relates to others. c) An open-loop system has no feedback path and requires human intervention, while a closed-loop system uses feedback. d) Technological systems can be connected to one another. e) Malfunction of any part of a system may affect the function and quality of the system. f) Requirements are the parameters placed on the development of a product or system. g) Trade-off is a decision-making process recognizing the need for careful compromises among competing factors. h) Different technologies involve different sets of processes. i) Maintenance is the process of inspecting and servicing a product or system on a regular basis in order to continue functioning properly, to extend its life, or to upgrade its capability. j) Controls are mechanism or particular steps that people perform using information about the system that causes systems to change.
Grade 7-8 Exploring Technology: Strand 3
Students will develop an understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and political effects of technology, the effects of technology on the environment, the role of society in the development and use of technology, and the influence of technology on history.
Standard 1 - In order to recognize the changes in society caused by the use of technology, students should learn that: a) The use of technology affects humans in various ways, including their safety, comfort, choices, and attitudes about technologies development and use. b) Technology, by itself, is neither good nor bad, but decisions about the use of products and systems can result in desirable or undesirable consequences. c) The development and use of technology poses ethical issues. d) Economic, political, and cultural issues are influenced by the development and use of technology.
Grade 7-8: Exploring Technology Strand 4
Students will participate in problem-based learning activities that explore engineering in a range of other technological areas.
Standard 1 - Students will know and be able to apply a basic design process that can be used to solve an engineering problem. a) Identify and define the design problem: list requirements, identify constraints, conduct research to identify similar efforts. b) Brainstorm solutions: list possible solutions, evaluate trade-offs, synthesize the results and select the best solution. c) Create models and build a prototype: mathematical models, 3D solid models, scale models. d) Test the prototype: record test results data, evaluate the test results against the requirements, identify weaknesses. e) Redesign and optimize: record findings, improve on the initial design, consider discarded ideas.
Standard 2 - In order to explore a broad range of technologies, students will use a disciplined design process as they participate in problem-based learning activities in at least three (3) of the following areas of technology: agriculture and biotechnology, construction, energy and power, information and communication, manufacturing, medical, transportation.
Standard 3 - Students should be given ample opportunities to use math and science applications in each activity.
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
Identify science careers related to both producers and consumers of agricultural products (T4.6-8.g)
Identify specific technologies that have reduced labor in agriculture (T4.6-8.h)
Education Content Standards
Career & Technical Education (CAREER)
AFNR (Grades 6-8)Career Ready Practices
CRP.10.1 Identify career opportunities within a career cluster that match personal interests, talents, goals and preferences.
AFNR (Grades 6-8)Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Cluster Skills
CS.01.02 Examine technologies and analyze their impact on AFNR systems.
MS-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Common Core Connections
Anchor Standards: Speaking and Listening
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Practice Standards: Mathematics
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution. They analyze givens, constraints, relationships, and goals. They make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution. They monitor and evaluate their progress and change course if necessary. Students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, “Does this make sense?” They can understand the approaches of others to solving complex problems and identify correspondences between different approaches.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4Model with mathematics. Students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions.