Outdoor Makerspace Harvesting Creativity

Posted: Updated:
The initial scope of the space includes a greenhouse, 14 raised beds, a large butterfly garden and an outdoor classroom. The initial scope of the space includes a greenhouse, 14 raised beds, a large butterfly garden and an outdoor classroom.
TERRE HAUTE -

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute is taking the makerspace movement outdoors. The school is turning a campus garden into a sustainability makerspace and an outdoor classroom. The idea, the school says, is to ramp up research and teach students of all ages about sustainability concepts and practices.

The initial scope of the space includes a greenhouse, 14 raised beds, a large butterfly garden and an outdoor classroom. However, Program Director Jennifer Mueller Price says there are "all sorts of ideas" for future enhancements, including solar panels to power the ventilation in the greenhouse as well as a water pump for a nearby pond to irrigate the produce and other plants grown at the site. She adds further plans will be largely up to students and faculty.

"We have one student interested in doing some research related to bees next year," says Price, "and so we're hoping to get a beehive out there as well that we can utilize for the student's research as well as having bees to help pollinate in the garden."

The initiative is funded in part by a nearly $10,000 grant from the SIA Foundation. The Lafayette-based organization awards grants twice each year to support community-based education, arts and health programs throughout Indiana.

The project is moving forward quickly. The school says the garden is already functioning, with hopes to get solar power on the greenhouse by the summer. The design of the outdoor classroom is also complete, thanks in part to input from students and interested faculty.

Mueller Price says the space will provide a wide range of opportunities for students to "really see the impact that they can have on the world around them." Future planned projects include harvesting rainwater through onsite water treatment and having renewable energy classes analyze power needs to help develop the solar power system needed.

She says the projects will give students "a systems perspective, a big picture, a more holistic view of their problem solving as being more than just technical pieces, but also thinking of the big picture of how they can impact society or the environment as well."

High school students will also have access to the outdoor makerspace, likely through Rose-Hulman's Operation Catapult program. The academic camp allows high school students to stay in residence halls and work on research projects with faculty.

The garden serves a practical purpose for the Terre Haute school as well. Vegetables from the 14 raised planting beds have been used by students and the school's food service provider, Bon Appetit.

Ultimately, Mueller Price says she hopes the space is a catalyst for students and faculty to be creative and innovative in the research that interests them in a living, growing educational environment.

Mueller Price says the outdoor makerspace can teach students a more well-rounded approach to problem-solving.
Mueller Price says there are opportunities for elementary and middle schools as well.
Mueller Price hopes the space can spark innovation and creativity in students.
  • Perspectives

    • What’s Your Biggest Waste of Money?

      Americans are in the age of reducing waste. There’s a big push to purchase sustainable products, reduce our usage of plastics, and recycle. But has this trend carried over to our personal finances?  Not really.  In a study by The Ascent, the financial expertise arm of The Motley Fool, more than 60 percent of respondents felt they have wasteful financial tendencies. Why is that?

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • The IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering will now be named for Fred Luddy for his $60M gift. (photo courtesy James Brosher/IU)

      $60M Gift to Fund AI Center

      An Indiana University alumnus who founded the information technology firm, ServiceNow, has given his alma mater $60 million to establish an artificial intelligence center. The university says the gift from cloud-computing pioneer Fred Luddy is the second largest in the history of the IU.

    • The plant manufactured parts for the assembly of Ball Mason jars and other preserving containers. (photo courtesy WTHR-TV)

      Muncie Manufacturing Plant to Close

      A historic part of Muncie will soon be closing its doors. Our partners at WTHR-TV report New Jersey-based Newell Brands Inc. (NYSE: NWL) has decided to close its manufacturing facility in the Delaware County city, which produces parts for the assembly of Ball Mason jars. 

    • (photo courtesy Purdue University)

      Purdue Professor Pleads Guilty to $1.3M Fraud Case

      A Purdue University professor and his wife have pleaded guilty last week to using more than $1 million in federal research funds for their own personal expenses. Federal prosecutors say Qingyou Han of West Lafayette and his wife Lu Shao of Lakewood, Ohio pleaded guilty to a felony wire fraud charge in federal court in Hammond. 

    • POET ethanol co. announced in Aug 2019 it was closing the plant in Cloverdale. (photo courtesy: POET)

      Cloverdale Ethanol Plant Closes

      South Dakota-based POET LLC, the nation’s largest biofuels producer, is moving forward with a plan to shut down its biorefining plant in Cloverdale, leaving 50 Hoosiers without jobs effective Friday. The company tells Inside INdiana Business that it is not making any changes to the plans announced two months ago. 

    • (Image of downtown Shelbyville courtesy of Mainstreet Shelbyville Inc.)

      Shelbyville Unveils Major Downtown Redevelopment

      The city of Shelbyville is announcing what it calls a major downtown redevelopment project to boost overall quality of life. The project plans feature green spaces, increased parking, market-rate housing, and infrastructure for public entertainment and community events.