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This article was published 5/1/2018 (745 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Students at Grosvenor School are being encouraged not only to play with their food, but to experiment with it as well.
A team of emerging scientists in Grade 6 recently learned their project "Growth of Lacinato in Microgravity" is destined for the International Space Station. The investigation will look at how gravity affects the germination of Lacinato kale seed and whether the differences in gravity between outer space and Earth affects the direction of root and leaf growth.
The experiment by Quinn McMullan, Merrik Williamson, Kale Peterson, Keaton Fish, and Charlie Buehler is part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, administered by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) (in the U.S.) and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, internationally.
"Our minds are blown, because we were all like it could happen, but there’s a big chance that it wouldn’t happen, so when it happened we were going crazy ," McMullan, 11, said of learning the project had been selected for the space station.
The students had been developing the experiment for about seven weeks before their proposal was sent to a committee of 13 community members, professors, science professionals and Winnipeg School Division educators. Of the 86 experiments that were judged, five were forwarded to a the NCESSE’s national review board which selected Grosvenor School’s project, along with one from Wolseley School, to head to outer space.
When coming up with an experiment, the team said they floated ideas around shrinking marshmallows and growing rock candy on the space station before landing on kale. As the project progressed, the students were tasked with coming up with a research question, developing the experiment, and writing a compelling proposal.
"When we went into this I thought it would be just another school project, but when we got to the details it was just amazing," Williamson, 11, said. "I think it couldn’t have gone better. If we hadn’t have chosen this subject, we wouldn’t be where we are today."
"It’s amazing what one idea that we had has turned into," added Fish, 10. "Our hard work definitely paid off."
Once the experiment is aboard the International Space Station, the students will be responsible for running a control back on Earth in a classroom at Grosvenor.
Brandy Anderson, a Grade 6 teacher at Grosvenor, said the students have been excited from the get go and have been in engaged in "full-on inquiry."
"Through the process they learned how to work together, they learned different techniques within the scientific process, they learned how to make decisions together because they really designed the project from scratch," she said.
"There were tons of challenges along the way but they met them head on and took it with stride and moved forward. It was amazing to see them work together and accomplish this amazing goal."