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A Community-Based Capstone Design Project to Build an Automated Urban Greenhouse

Kala Meah 1, Wayne Blanding 1, James Moscola 1, and Nicole Hesson 2
1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science, York College of Pennsylvania, York, PA, USA
2. Department of Education, York College of Pennsylvania, York, PA, USA

Abstract—Over the past few years, the engineering programs at York College of Pennsylvania have added more community-based projects into the two-course capstone design sequence that all engineering majors take in their senior year. With capstone design already organized as a multi-disciplinary project-based learning course, it was a natural extension to develop opportunities for community-based projects. As a part of the initiative an automated urban greenhouse was designed, built, and delivered to a local city school to engage school students in sustainability and developing food awareness. A curriculum is being designed to include the greenhouse into the school activities. This paper discusses the process of including community-based projects into capstone projects involving a multidisciplinary student team. Expectations of the community-based project are presented. Detailed descriptions of the mechanical system, the electrical system, the sensor network, and the programmable logic controller are presented. System integration, on-site testing, and student outcomes assessment are also included. 
Index Terms—Greenhouse, Community-based project, Capstone, K-8 Education

Cite: Kala Meah, Wayne Blanding, James Moscola, and Nicole Hesson, "A Community-Based Capstone Design Project to Build an Automated Urban Greenhouse," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 59-67, June 2021. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.7.2.59-67

Copyright © 2021 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the article is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.