Middle Years Floating Garden Competition

During Science Week, Middle Years students were invited to take part in the ‘Floating Gardens Challenge’ set by the charity Practical Action. Students learnt that crops can often be wiped out because of long term flooding of croplands in places like Bangladesh. Their challenge was to use recycled materials to engineer a solution to this. Students thought carefully about the many facets of this problem:
– the weight (light as possible) and strength (able to hold several kg of weight without breaking) of their materials
– the stability of the design in water
– how to plant and grow cress seeds with minimal watering
– material and adhesives that could cope with getting wet.

The designs would be judged on the amount of cress growth and also the amount of weight that could be loaded onto the garden before it sank. Filip, Cyrus, Nathaniel and Ollie used moss to keep their soil moist and achieved the most impressive cress growth:

For the test of buoyancy we enlisted the help of our sixth form physicists:
The winning design was simple but very effective, made out of plastic bottles and corks, and using clever proportions to allow it to balance evenly and hold the greatest weight. Mohammad, Ben and Benjamin were the overall winners with a design that held 1.8kg of weight and grew an impressive amount of cress. Well done!