Curriculum for Farmbot


#1

Good Evening All,

I am in the process of developing further curriculum around Farmbot. So far I have developed a program which is Arduino based and looks at the hardware of Farmbot itself. For instance we have to start at the very bottom of the Arduino learning ladder with blinking LED’s etc, but end up with students who can program stepper motors, use sensors, such as the bmp180 and hygrometer to activate watering of plants. This is all done over 40hrs of class time and with students who are 12-13 years old. The main purpose of this experience is to have the students experience Farmbot as they are not necessarily heavily involved in using it.

I now need to work on the curriculum extending from this base understanding, which would require students to use it. I would also have 80hrs and they are 14-15 years old.

My thoughts on proposed tasks would be

  • developing a farmware, possibly a timelapse photography function.
  • addition of a weather station and use of weather data, (using pyton to code instead of C/C+)
  • trialing different conditions for a crop, ie. water amount, or water frequency
  • creating how to guides for various tasks. Similar to the video guides Rory has for the software.

Please let me know what you think or if you have any other suggestions. If you have any programs written and would be willing to share, that would be appreciated. I will reciprocate back to the forum and the wiki when i have my curriculum written and trilled next year.

Thanks
Adam


#2

Hi Adam,

of paramount importance would be to know which subject you´re teaching? :slight_smile:

Regards!


#3

I am teaching a subject called Digital Technologies. Which would be regarded as a STEM subject. I am in Australia. Thanks


#4

That sounds interesting and if you’re motivated enough that could be really interesting lessons!

I can think of endless possibilities to include the FB into teaching lessons. I don’t know if you have even more complex courses to teach but you could definitely go into recognition pattern detection algorithms for ill plants, loss of nutrition and such. You could collaborate with biologist colleagues where they measure certain gases coming from different growth stages of plants. You could “scientifically” analyze the dependency of light on growth state and and and.

The only thing that I would recommend is that for everything that you do not need to do with the UTM (such as weatherstation, collection of light data, switching of auxiliaries) I would recommend to use a higher level platform which is taking care of these things. I ended up using openhab to measure weatherdata, soil moisture etc. and only drive the bot to water based on decisions from openhab.
The relationship and demands of such auxiliary systems can grow quickly and become too complex for an implementation in FB. I have seen this several times now, the last thing was a simple pull up that needed deactivation inside the software which was not possible.

So either you go the full FB route and end up with most probably an own firmware at some
time because you will see that farmwares’ impact is quite limited.

Hope that helps your decision taking, if you need more inputs / information shout! :wink:


#5

Hi Adam,

This is a great endeavour!!!

I am also from Australia and involved in STEM and have just built the v1.4

Perhaps we could meet up and discuss this further.

Where abouts in Australia are you?

Regards,
Greg


#6

Hi Greg,

I am near Brisbane at a state high school. I just messaged you with my work email to continue this conversation. We literally just started building yesterday afternoon with students.

Hi Klimbim,

Thanks for the ideas around the curriculum, greatly appreciated.

After reading that Rory’s plan (an update would be helpful please Rory) was to write curriculum with the farmbot and that the plan was to do it this year, It looks as if nothing has come out into the marketplace as yet. I understand that from a business point of view this will take longer than most people outside of education will realize. I have to have my curriculum up and running within the next 2 month and because I am not a business, I dont need to have it highly polished to be able to deliver it to my students.

So what I cam chasing in reality is any documentation, small lesson, programming task, UTM modifications, or idea (which has been trialed with students) so I dont have to start from the bottom.

Yes ideas are great, but they are only ideas. As an experienced senior teacher, many people have ideas on how to teach a concept or an idea of what could be possible, but i can tell you that vary few of these “ideas” can be realized in the classroom.

OpenHab looks very interesting, however its adding another layer of complexity, and we need to keep everything inside farm bot at this stage. You mention growth rates and light dependency, this is most likely the path we will follow, plus adding in water dependency.

Thanks
Adam


#7

Some more info on my curriculum plan is below.

The curriculum I am working in for farmbot, is called Digital Technologies and year level is 9. These are 14-15 year olds. They have had limited programming experience around scratch and simple arduino circuits and programming. They require support 90% of the time when coding. I will list the task overviews that I must achieve with them within 80 hours of teaching.

The document attached shows these overviews (which I highlighed in Yellow) and under each yellow one are are elaborations, which go into more depth.

These are from the ACARA website ACARA Digital Technologies

If you are in Australia, with a Famrbot and would like to collaborate on this curriculum, private message me and I will send you my work email address.

Thanks
Adam

Y9&10 Digital Technologies Content desicriptors.docx (17.9 KB)


#8

Don‘t know wether you have a 3D printer at hand but constructing and consequently printing a replacement for the current water head would be an idea. Maybe studying the current water tap „layouts“ and seeing how they are created (Venturi effect, enriching the water with air) would help in getting to a proper construction…?! Just my thoughts :wink:


#9

Hey Adam,

I have done this exact thing, but built it around hydroponics. Students began with the basics and worked their way up to learning how to wire and code various sensors to monitor variables within the system.

Students were then charged to create an actuator that responded to these variables as they crossed thresholds in order to not only monitor them, but automate their adjustment.

Finally, we integrated their projects on the arduino with raspberry pi so they could be remotely monitored and controlled and have their data analyzed over the course of a crop rotation on an IoT dashboard.

They way I instructed them was by creating videos ahead of the lessons in which I assembled the circuits and wrote the code. This freed me up to wander the room and make adjustments instead of having it be teacher-centric. It also allowed them to watch the instruction ahead of time as well as review it afterward. All videos were edited to help make them easier to follow and more user friendly.

Students earned digital badges with each successful challenge. I intend to extend these projects into our FarmBot in order to have a side-by-side comparison of the challenges involved with robotic farming in both hydro and traditional soil. It is my longterm goal to design and 3D print new tools for the FarmBot with the kids as part of this process. I work with 12-14 year olds in an after school coding and engineering club. You can check out some of our work @reginius214 on Twitter and Instagram and can take a look at some of the instructional videos I was referring to on YouTube on ReginiusScience. I am by now means trying to sell you anything. Just want to give you an idea of some of our projects. Feel free to DM with questions.

Best,
Chris Regini
Raspberry Pi certified science teacher
NewYork, USA