Design and Compare Irrigation Systems (Grade 8)

Grade: Eight

Topic: Understanding Earth and space systems - Water systems

Design Challenge:

Students will investigate the efficiencies of traditional sprinkler systems and drip irrigation systems. Using this knowledge, and the materials and tools provided, students will create an in-ground and an on ground drip irrigation system. They will use their systems to create a fair test to determine which drip system waters the soil in the most eco-friendly manner. Students will complete a report on the steps they took to solve the design challenge.

OCTE 2012 – Elementary Conference Workshops

Sample irrigation system


  • potting soil, one medium sized bag per class;
  • soil containers, two matching containers per project (students supply these items, could be 2 L pop bottles, margarine or yogurt containers, etc.);
  • 10 ml syringe, two per project (;
  • vinyl tubing, 3' (90 cm) per project (;
  • low heat glue sticks (one stick will be enough for at least four projects);
  • newspaper, rags, paper towels, etc. (to absorb and/or clean up spills);
  • 1 large tote box or cardboard box to contain the bag of soil and to catch spills that occur when the soil containers are being filled;
  • water.


  • CSA approved safety glasses/goggles, one pair per person (parent volunteers included);
  • an approved eyewash station; this can be two eyewash bottles containing approved eyewash fluid that has not reached its expiry time limit after decanting, or an installed system (an actual eyewash station, or approved faucet attachment);
  • 1 first aid kit (consult your Board’s health and safety policy for required size/ contents);
  • work gloves, 1 pair per low heat glue gun;
  • aprons, 1 per low heat glue gun;
  • 1 bucket of cool water per glue gun station (place beyond the reach of a student who is still holding a glue gun that is plugged in);
  • 1 low heat mini glue gun for every 7 projects;
  • 1 ruler for every project;
  • 1 pair of scissors for every five projects (they may use their own, if available);
  • 1 digital soil moisture meter, to be shared by the class;
  • 1 measuring cup for every 3 projects;
  • 1 electric kitchen weigh scale (optional);
  • 1 classroom sink, or a tub of water.