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

    • Shawn Gardner

      How Veterans Can Help Close Indiana's Skills Gap

      Over one million computing and engineering positions will need filled by 2020. It's a staggering statistic; however, with studies predicting only 400,000 computer-related students will graduate by that time, it is more important than ever the technology skills gap is diminished. One way to close this gap is to recruit military veterans to the tech industry. After all, it is the perfect match.

    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

    • (Image of the South Shore Line courtesy of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.)

      South Shore Rail Project Moves Forward

      The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has taken another step toward landing funding for the West Lake Corridor expansion of the South Shore rail line. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the RDA Board of Directors has approved a governance agreement that will allow the Indiana Finance Authority to sell bonds to finance the effort.

    • Cement Maker Details $600M Investment in Mitchell

      The Texas-based owner of a Lawrence County cement supplier has announced a major investment. Lehigh Hanson Inc. says it plans to pump over $600 million into the Lehigh Cement Co. plant in Mitchell and add more than 50 jobs in the next four years. The company says the modernization effort is the largest it has ever launched in North America. It will involve a new plant on the 2,500-acre property where Lehigh Cement Co. began operations 116 years ago. The company expects to...

    • 1st Source Bank is the highest-ranked bank headquartered in Indiana. (photo courtesy 1st Source Bank)

      Forbes Ranks Top Banks, Credit Unions in Indiana

      Forbes has released its inaugural list of the best banks and credit unions in every state. The publication, along with market research firm Statista, surveyed more than 25,000 U.S. customers who rated the banks on criteria such as satisfaction, branch services, and financial advice.

    • Shawn Gardner

      How Veterans Can Help Close Indiana's Skills Gap

      Over one million computing and engineering positions will need filled by 2020. It's a staggering statistic; however, with studies predicting only 400,000 computer-related students will graduate by that time, it is more important than ever the technology skills gap is diminished. One way to close this gap is to recruit military veterans to the tech industry. After all, it is the perfect match.

    • Aussie Tech Company Chooses Indy

      A sales software company from Australia is setting up its first U.S. office in Indianapolis. SalesPond, which has offices in six other countries, says it will invest nearly $500,000 into a downtown location and hire 36 employees by 2023. The company currently has a headcount of 150 in Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and New Zealand. SalesPond plans to have six employees in its Circle Tower building office by year's end. Positions currently available include...