It’s our Pleasure to Measure

Those of you that have read some of our earlier blog posts probably realize that our Engineering class wasn’t always going to build a greenhouse. First, it was going to be a Japanese teahouse, then a Tiny Home, then a rock climbing wall, and finally, our greenhouse. Learning about and trying out all those new things was really fun, but also kind of overwhelming. I think we’re all glad that we’ve finally settled down on a project, and it’s super exciting to see our plans come off the page for the first time. Currently we’re building our greenhouse model, which is very rewarding, and I have to say it’s going up fast. Today the roof was nearly finished and all four walls were put together. Outside, some of us were measuring the future of location of the greenhouse. Before we know it, it’ll be all grown up and moving out!

Today we measured everything. Wood, gardens, sidewalks, gym walls. We measured until the measuring tape popped right of the measuring tape holder (seriously), and then what did we do? We kept on  measuring. All this calculation and precision may sound tedious, but it can be pretty fun and it’s important for the stability and placement of our structure. I was with a team of three, and we were collecting measurements and dimensions of the general area where the greenhouse will go. It was surprisingly complicated, especially since the dimensions were transferred onto a hand-drawn map.


Classmates Asha and Lucia take one of many measurements

We had to consider not only the placement of the greenhouse but the already existing structures, such as a garden, shed, water hose, and sidewalk. The space that we are working with is far from a simple rectangle, so there were also inconvenient nooks and crannies that needed to be measured. Also, we were in a field, so the measuring tape was not long enough for most measurements we wanted to take.

With these inconvenient obstacles, teamwork was required between our two measurers and cartographer. One measurer would hold the measuring tape at a starting point, and the other would go back as far as the measuring tape would allow, then mark that point with a stick as pictured below. The pair would move backwards and make a new measurement starting at the stick. After the total distance was measured, the dimension would be called to our cartographer, who would mark it down. There were maybe thirty of these measurements that had to be taken, and many had to be repeated. Additionally, the map had to be adjusted several times to better represent the space. In the end, we had an accurate map, and got to spend an hour outside on a beautiful day.After measuring, we got to recreate the layout of the field in in Google SketchUp, a software program used mainly for modeling houses. This will allow us to try out many different locations for our greenhouse and see where it will fit best without having to commit right away.


Shilah the amateur cartographer writes dimensions on the map of the area

Meanwhile, the rest of the class was measuring, chopping, gluing, and drilling wood…but more about the actual greenhouse model on Friday from Britton.

Overall, we were a super-productive greenhouse-making factory today: after months of switching projects, we’re finally full steam ahead. I just hope that we don’t have to say goodbye to our greenhouse too soon!


Lucia and Shilah discussing the map and measurements

Until next time,



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