Browse Publications Technical Papers 2004-01-2417

Space Plants in the Classroom 2004-01-2417

A common question for students to ask educators is “When am I ever going to use this?” An excellent way to answer that question is to demonstrate how interrelated many subjects are. At ORBITEC in Madison, WI, we are developing systems to help teachers demonstrate the exciting interrelationships of science, math and technology using activities related to growing plants in space. We are developing two portable plant growth systems that integrate multiple disciplines, enriching students’ classroom experiences. Each portable growth unit is based on similar principles. The Space Garden and Biomass Production Education System (BPES) are growth units for indoor use that utilize a bellows technology to create a greenhouse-like environment. The Space Garden is a personal growth unit that a student can use individually while the BPES will be 0.25 m2, allowing larger-scale experimentation. The Space Garden will be best used in classrooms of grades four through seven. This hand-held growth unit will allow students to work with plants in a limited space environment while comparing the hardware as well as growth results with similar hardware being supported by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). The ground hardware will be very similar in function and appearance to that used on ISS, thus giving students a unique view of space experiments. The BPES is geared toward larger scale experimentation, generally on a higher academic level (grades nine through fourteen). The Space Garden and BPES can support educational content standards in science, technology, math, agriculture, communication arts and even the social sciences.


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