Astro Crops

 
If astronauts are going to settle on the Moon, or explore further reaches of our Solar System, they will need air, food and water. To prepare for long duration missions, scientists are researching how to create a closed life support system could be used in space, including how plants could be
grown in such a system.
 
In this set of activities, teams will build an understanding of germination and plant growth by following the development of three unknown plants for 12 weeks. Students will use their observations to make a hypothesis about which species of plants they are growing and discuss whether these plants are suitable for growing on long duration space missions.
 
Mission Questions
Which plants are suitable for growing in space as a good source of nutrition for astronauts.
 
Skills
Science, Biology, Plants, Seeds, Germination
Learning Objectives:
  • Observe and describe how seeds grow into mature plants
  • Create scientific diagrams and use labels
  • Execute systematic observations and measurements
  • Interpret results and draw conclusions from the results
  • Be able to perform comparative and fair tests
Equipment
  • Printed student data logbook for each group
  • Ruler
  • 3 pots
  • Soil or other growth medium
  • Plant nutrients
  • Basil, radish and tomato seeds
Time
30 minutes per week for 12 weeks

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