Enabling a Better Future

Smart Gardens – Growing on Country

Students will build an electronic monitoring and control system to germinate plants, monitor their conditions and modify the variables to maximise growth. The plant choice will be guided by the community, based around the theme of Bush Foods and Medicines. Students will attach sensors (e.g. soil humidity, temperature, pH and light) to a microcomputer or microcontroller (e.g. Arduino). They will use coding to collect and display data from the sensors and use this information to maintain good growth conditions, such as providing the correct volume of water to promote growth without over-watering. They can also 3D print parts of the irrigation system and seasonal bush foods and medicinal plants.

The project can be shared among several classes. The climatic conditions where your school is located should be taken into consideration.


Learnings: Students will learn about the use of sensors and coding to monitor different aspects of growth such as soil humidity, pH, temperature, and light. This information will be used to maximise growth and regulate the irrigation system. Local indigenous knowledge and stories about plants and their uses can be incorporated into the activity. Lower secondary students could focus on factors relating to plant growth and coding from water sensors. Upper secondary students could extend the sensor and coding parameters.


Requirements: The time commitment required is of at least one hour a week for around 1 term. If your school already have an established garden, you could build onto this. Alternatively, plants can be grown in pots or small modules. Plants will be chosen with the guidance of the community and local Elders or First Nation scientist, based around the theme of Bush Foods and Medicines.

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Acknowledgment of Country
Macquarie University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the Macquarie University land, the Wallumattagal clan of the Dharug nation - whose cultures and customs have nurtured, and continue to nurture, the land since Dreamtime.