Our Third Form pupils are preparing to become space biologists and embark on a voyage of discovery by growing seeds that have been into space.
In September 2015, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S where they would spend several months in microgravity before returning to Earth in March 2016. The seeds have been sent as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.
King’s College will be one of up to 10,000 schools to receive a packet of 100 seeds from space, which they will grow alongside seeds that haven’t been to space and measure the differences over a seven week period. The pupils won’t know which seed packet contains which seeds until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.
The out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment will pick up on several areas of the Year 9 biology course, encouraging the pupils to think more about how we might preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need in order to survive long-term missions in space and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.
Head of Biology, Lucy MacAlister, said: “We are very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science. This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching our pupils to think more scientifically and to share their findings with the whole school. It also follows the underlying theme of the Discover@King’s science festival last year where pupils got an insight into how collaborative the sciences they study are in the real world. It will also enable them to be at the cutting edge of scientific research of their own, that will be of national and international importance.”
Rocket Science is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and to inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.
Follow the project on Twitter: @RHSSchools #RocketScience
Photograph: Rocket Science