Education Technology

Smart Water with TI-Innovator™

Activity Overview

In this TI-Innovator™STEM project, students are given the challenge to design a smart irrigation system that could be used to monitor and meter water from a rain collection cistern to irrigate a small family garden in Zimbabwe. This project is compatible with the TI-Nspire CX or TI-84 Plus CE handhelds.

About the Lesson

A drought in South Africa has caused a famine in Zimbabwe and local students are quitting school and soccer to stay home and help grow food for the family. What can be done to allow students to stay in school, instead of having to work the fields?

Students are challenged to help solve this problem by designing and building a smart irrigation system to potentially manage a limited amount of water collected in a cistern to irrigate a garden. They will have to utilize math skills, computer programming and engineering to design and build a smart watering system to solve a real world problem. Students will use several sensors alongside the TI-Innovator Hub to design and build a smart irrigation system. 

Note there are two alternative approaches (provided in the download section) for doing the project with students:

  • "Project Materials" versions offer the most comprehensive approach, where teachers will find additional background on both coding and science concepts, and these materials also include a classroom presentation PowerPoint for teacher use. 
  • "By Challenges" versions offer a shorter, streamlined approach to the project. Students are presented with a series of smaller tasks that eventually lead toward the final challenge. Check out both versions, and decide which approach is best for you and your class! 

Note: It is strongly suggested that if your students do not have much familiarity with coding on the TI calculator, they should begin with 10 Minutes of Code lessons or the introductory activity: “DIY Mood Ring with TI-Innovator” project to build basic coding skills, and then progress to more complex projects like this one. This project also includes references to specific 10 Minutes of Code lessons for additional support on the student tasks, if needed.