Our class is very excited to be part of a project called Tomatosphere!
Tomatosphere™ uses the excitement of space exploration to teach the skills and processes of scientific experimentation and inquiry. Students investigate the effects of the space environment on the growth of food that will inevitably support long-term human space travel.
The program originated in Canada and involves over 17,000 Kindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms across Canada and the United States.
In 2012, Tomatosphere™ was honoured by the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) as the best project promoting science in Canada.
Tomatosphere™ has strong connections to science curriculum and helps students develop science process skills through inquiry. The project enables students to make a contribution to real-life research related to the development of seeds with a high germination rate for prolonged space travel.
The project enables students to make a contribution to a real science experiment involving research related to the development of seeds with a high germination rate for prolonged space travel.
This year, our class will have the opportunity to contribute to this project by incorporating the Tomatosphere™ experiment into the regular science curriculum.
Food availability and life support are major limiting factors in extended space exploration. Plants will be needed to provide a source of fresh, nutritious food and to produce a vital life support system – including oxygen, fresh water and carbon dioxide uptake. Scientists need to know if space travel affects plant germination and plant growth, before these extended missions can take place.
The tomato seeds used in the experiment are a plum tomato seed from traditional, conventional sources and have not been altered through any means (including biotechnology). They are a variety of seed from H.J. Heinz Canada.
Students will use two groups of seeds – a control/untreated group and a group of seeds that have been treated (exposed to space or space-like conditions).
The students will observe:
- The time required for each seed to successfully germinate.
- The percent of successful germination in each treatment.
Students will learn about the exciting world of science, space exploration, food and nutrition. The hook for the students is the emphasis on the life support environment that is required in space. However, applications are also made to the sustainability of life here on Earth.
Parents/guardians who are interested in finding out more details about the Tomatosphere™ program can visit – tomatosphere.org.