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AstroFarmer – Learning about conditions for plant growth – Moon Camp Challenge
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AstroFarmer – Learning about conditions for plant growth

AstroFarmer – Learning about conditions for plant growth

Brief description:

In this set of six activities, students will investigate which factors affect plant growth, and relate these factors to growing plants in space.

Students will learn that plants need air, light, water, nutrients and a stable temperature to grow.

Students will observe what happens to plants when they vary some of these factors. These six activities can be done individually or as a set.
Subject: Science
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.
  • Solve problems.
  •  
    Age range:
    8 – 12 years old
     
    Time
    Lesson: 2 hours and 30 minutes
     
    Resource available in:
    Activity 1: Do plants need air?

    In this activity, students will learn about respiration and photosynthesis in plants. Students will also learn about the composition of air and understand the role of plants in teh production of oxygen.
    Equipment

  • Student worksheet printed for each student.
  • Pen/pencil
  • Colouring pencils


  • Activity 2: Do plants need light?

    In this activity, students will investigate how cress grows in different lighting conditions: constant darkness and normal sunlight. Students should understand that ligth affects the growth of plants and relate the results from this experiment to Activity 1.
    Equipment

  • Student worksheet printed for each group
  • Labels
  • Pen/pencil
  • Cress seeds
  • Potting soil
  • Identical pots/plastic containers (2 pots per group)
  • Small shovel or spoon
  • A ruler
  • Water
  • A cardboard box or a dark closet
  • Access to a window
  • Activity 3: Do plants need water?

    In this activity, students will investigate the transportation of water inside a plant. Through these exercises, students should understand that the roots and stem transport water to the rest of the plant. Afterwards, students will examine how flower petals change colour when dye is added to the plant water.
    Equipment

  • Student worksheet printed for each student
  • Pen/pencil
  • White flowers cut at the stem (two per group)
  • Food dye (red or blue)
  • Transparent water containers (for example the bottom of a plastic bottle)
  • White flower with intact root (optional)
  • Activity 4: Do plants need soil?

    In this activity, students will plant radish seeds in different materials to determine which are good for growing plants.
    Equipment

  • 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
  • Pen/pencil
  • Liquid plant food
  • Small shovel or spoon
  • Water
  • Activity 5: Too hot, too cold

    In this activity, students will observe pictures from different places on Earth and link them to the different climate zones. Students will learn that plants can adapt to different conditions but there are extreme environments where they cannot live.
    Equipment

  • Student worksheet printed for each student
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pen/pencil
  • Activity 6: Plants in Space

    In this activity, students will summarise the most important conditions that are needed fro plants to be healthy. Students will consider what conditions on the Moon could pose a problem for plants.
    Equipment

  • Student worksheet printed for each student
  • Colouring pencils
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Did you know?

    For most plants the optimum temperature for photosynthesis is around 25 ºC. The effect of temperature on plants varies widely depending on their type.

    Tomatoes get into trouble when temperatures drop below 13 ºC, or if temperatures exceed about 36 ºC. Cacti, on the other hand, can survive in the desert where temperatures range from below zero, up to around 70 ºC.
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