AstroCrops – Growing plants for future space missions

Brief description:

In this set of activities, students will build an understanding of germination and plant growth by following the development of three unknown plants for 12 weeks.

They will conduct measurements and make observations to evaluate their plant’s growth and health.

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.
Subject: Science, Biology
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 them.
  • Be able to perform comparative and fair tests.
    Age range:
    8 – 12 years old
    Lesson: 30 minutes per week for 12 weeks
    Resource available in:
    Activity 1: Let it grow

    In this activity, students will track the development of three unknown seeds. As the seeds develop into adult plants, students will learn to make scientific observations and record data to track the growth over time. Students should complete the activity by presenting their results in a letter to Paxi.

  • Student data logbook printed for each student.
  • Pen/pencil
  • Ruler
  • 3 pots
  • Soil or other growth medium
  • Plant nutrients
  • Basil, radish and tomato seeds
  • Did you know?

    Astronauts have already eaten food grown in space! In August 2015, astronauts on board the International Space Station ate their first space salad – a crop of red romaine lettuce.

    It was grown in a special plant growth unit called Veggie, which provides the lighting and nutrients. In this image, you can see the lettuce growing.

    Red romaine lettuce grown on the ISS