Young Engineers Construct Composting Bins

Collaboration and teamwork require a mix of interpersonal, problem solving, and communication skills needed for a group to work together towards a common goal. In the case of science teacher Lisa Bailey and introduction to engineering teacher Noah Lynd, their shared purpose was integrating an environmental cause in both their classes.

In the fall semester, Baliey’s class learned about the science of composting. Her students developed a proposal for constructing full-scale composting bins on campus to house the dining hall food scraps. The Parent Association approved a $1,500 grant for the concept. Bailey approached Lynd to see if his class would build the bins in his an engineering, and his class gave a thumbs up to the project. “Their enthusiasm drove the entire project,” Lynd said.

Over the course of three weeks - six one-hour periods and two 75-minute periods - Lynd’s class took drawings from the earth and the environment, worked within budget, researched materials, hand-sawed wood and wielded cordless drills to construct four four-foot by five-foot by four-foot tall (80 cubic feet) containers with five minutes left to spare. The class of 16 learned about the engineering design process of prototyping to understand which design concepts worked well and which ones needed improvement as the different teams were tasked to make walls, doors, and roofs.

“The students decided upon a lot of specifics about materials. What are the lids going to look like? Is pressure treated lumber okay? How do you accommodate different ground levels? Where do we locate reports from the EPA? I let them go, gave them guidance, and they did the work themselves,” Lynd said.

The composting bins are located behind the dining hall for easy access. The bins have removable doors so that a Bobcat can churn the kitchen waste.
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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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