Astro Farmer

All the things we take for granted on Earth are either absent or different in space. In space, the five conditions required for plants to grow – light, water, soil, nutrients and suitable temperature – are difficult to meet. In addition, plants would have to grow in a different gravity environment. 
 
In this set of six activities, teams will investigate which factors affect plant growth, and relate these factors to growing plants in space. They will observe what happens when the variables of air, light, water, nutrients and temperature are changed. 
 
Mission Questions
Do plants need air? Do plants need light? Do plants need water? Do plants need soil?
 
Skills
Scientific Methodology, Teamwork, Communication, Problem-solving
Learning Objectives:
  • Learn that plants need water, light, air, nutrients and a suitable temperature to grow
  • Understand that environments can change and pose danger to living things
  • Learn that it is possible to grow plants without soil
  • Conduct simple and fair tests.
  • Identify and control variables when necessary
  • Interpret observations and draw conclusions
Equipment
  • Activity 1:
    • Student worksheet printed for each student
    • Pen or pencil
    • Colouring pencils
  • Activity 2:
    • Student worksheets printed (1 per group)
    • Cress seeds
    • Identical pots/plastic containers (2 pots per group)
    • Potting soil
    • Small shovel or spoon
    • A cardboard box or a dark closet
    • A ruler
  • Activity 3:
    • Student worksheet printed for each student
    • White flowers cut at the stem (2 per group)
    • Food dye (red or blue)
    • Transparent water containers (e.g. the bottom of a plastic bottle)
    • (Optional) white flower with intact root
  • Activity 4:
    • Student worksheet printed for each student
    • 16 radish seeds
    • 8 small clear pots
    • Soil to fill 2 of the small pots
    • Sand to fill 2 of the small pots
    • Cotton wool to fill 2 of the small pots
    • Paper towel to fill 2 of the small pots
    • Cling film
    • 16 Labels for the pots
    • Liquid plant food
  • Activity 5:
    • Student worksheet printed for each student
    • Scissors
    • Glue
    • Pen/Pencil
  • Activity 6:
    • Student worksheet printed for each student
    • Pen/Pencil
    • Colour Pencils
Time
2 hours and 30 minutes

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