Circling the Farm – bESTology Week 7

Published by rrfenton on

Circling The Farm 



Let’s celebrate Pi Week by Circling the Farm.

Pi can be traced back to the Babylonians and Egyptians, nearly 4000 years ago. Archimedes of Syracuse, 287 – 212 B.C., one of the greatest mathematicians of the Ancient World, did the first calculation of Pi.

Today, pi turns up everywhere!

  • electrical engineers use pi to solve problems for electrical applications
  • statisticians use pi to track population dynamics
  • doctors use pi to study the structure of the eye
  • clock designers use pi to design pendulums for clocks
  • aircraft designers use pi to calculate areas of skin for aircraft
  • map makers use pi to assist in global positioning (GPS)
  • farmers use pi to create center-pivot irrigation systems

So, how will you use Pi?



The circle has transformed 21st century farming!

Crop engineers recognized a problem, embraced the engineering design process and invented the center pivot irrigation system. This innovative system uses less water and generates a higher crop yield. Many of us are familiar with America’s grid system developed by Thomas Jefferson, now it’s the circle that is making the rounds in the global farming industry.

View the above center pivot irrigation videos. Afterwards, grainstorm and discuss how engineers have created a positive impact on the following topics by using the center pivot irrigation system:

  • food and fiber for the world
  • flood irrigation versus center pivot irrigation
  • productivity and value of water
  • GPS technology and how someone in the United States could control the irrigation system in Africa
  • water conservation

BEST Farm Journal

Recent BEST news! Teams will be allowed to fabricate two parts made from any team supplied uniform (homogeneous) material, provided that each part will fit, independently and unconstrained, into a 2” x 4” x 4” cuboid.

Analyze your team’s 2015 robot or photos of prior BEST robots. Predict how a circular structure could enhance the functionality of the robot. Generate prototypes for the 2016 season using a 3-D printer or easily accessible raw materials. Write the technical specifications for each prototype in your journal. It’s never to early to plant the seeds for Bet The Farm!

BEST Connection

Rolling forward towards Pi Day! Gather several circular objects of various sizes, from as large as a hula hoop to as small as a dime. Obtain string and a measuring tape to determine the diameter and circumference of each object. Insert the measurements into the formula pi =C/d and calculate. Compare your value to 3.14. Was your calculation greater or less than the 3.14 value of pi? Plot each of your pi values on a scatter graph and analyze the results.

Now that Pi Day has us thinking about math, identify and list useful mathematical equations for designing and constructing a BEST robot. In particular:

  • how forces are transferred between the different parts of a construction
  • where the center of gravity lies
  • friction
  • position, speed, acceleration
  • Newton’s laws
  • inertia

Review the above resources to determine how to incorporate mathematical equations into a written technical document. Archive your findings as a useful tool for your Bet The Farm engineering notebook.

Community Connection

Circle of friends. Circle of trust. This sure describes a BEST team!

Organize a Pi Day event to share the impact BEST makes on you, your team and your school. Invite guests from within a 3.14 mile radius of your school. Serve pizza pi and apple pi. Create a visual of an eight slice pizza with one of the following on each slice: teamwork and friends, skills for the workplace, career choices, problem solving, tools and safety, mentors, public speaking, reading and writing. When your guests arrive, take a slice and share how BEST Makes It Happen.

Fertilizer for the Brain

Circling around the “wheat” penny! Research and post your answers on the BEST Facebook page – let’s roll.

  • Can you name the person who designed the wheat penny?
  • What was the significance of the date 1909 and not 1908 or 1910?
  • Why were ears of wheat used on the penny?
  • What replaced the ears of wheat in 1959 and why was that date chosen?
  • Are all coins round?
  • How many wheat pennies can you collect during Pi Week? Post your photo on the BEST Facebook page!

Bloom’s Taxonomy: analyze, archive, brainstorm, calculate, compare, determine, fabricate, gather, generate, graph. Identify, insert, invite, list, name, obtain, organize, plot, post, predict, research, review, serve, share, use, view, write

Workforce Skills: reading comprehension, active listening, critical thinking, speaking, active learning, coordination, writing, service orientation, complex problem solving, mathematics, equipment selection, science, judgment and decision making, technology design

Download a PDF copy of Circling the Farm – bESTology Week 7 – Click HERE!

There are great teasers for BEST The Farm in this week’s bESTology.  Please share with your friends and Be Your BEST!

While the information contained in this website has been compiled from sources believed to be current and reliable, Friends of BEST in Alabama, Inc. (FBA) cannot be held responsible for any errors, omissions or content changes. Links made from this website are to reputable organizations at the time of posting. However, FBA cannot be held responsible for content on such linked websites. The existence of such links does not represent an endorsement by FBA of any views expressed or products or services offered.

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