A while back, I ran past our little lady’s brownie Barn Owl, that she would be doing her Gardening Badge at home, as it was time to plant this year’s seeds. This lasts from seed to table, or fully grown flowers, so takes a while. Barn Owl emailed me back, saying that was great, but it had given her an idea, and she would speak to me. Little did I know that she’d found the perfect candidate to grow the space seeds the unit had been allocated, as part of our lady’s gardening badge. Rocket Science is one of a number of projects for school aged children initiated by the UK Space Agency. The children become space biologists, helping run an experiment to see if it is possible to grow our own foods on other planets.
2kg of rocket seed travelled on Soyuz 44S to the ISS, and were stored in microgravity by Tim Peake, before returning back down to earth. Each group taking part in the experiment (in our case the brownie unit), is given one blue packet of 100 seeds, and one red packet of 100 seeds. One packet has been to space, the other hasn’t. You do not know which is which set. We have to grow the seeds, following randomisation methods, and collect the data at various intervals throughout the experiment, again following randomisation methods. Children learn about the horticultural techniques required to grow seeds up until the plant is 6 weeks old, how to use data from an experiment to answer specific questions, how to carry out the scientific method of random selection, and to understand why randomisation is essential to scientific experiments. My very tired brain struggled to get to grips with the instructions last night, but hopefully managed a bit better this morning.
So, today being Mamma day, and not having four extra four year old hands to help us, we set to our task of planting our seeds. We will keep you updated over the next 6 weeks as to how they are growing (hopefully…nothing like a bit of pressure!!). One of the most interesting things I learnt from reading the literature that came with it all, was that space rocket used on the first attempt for getting the seeds into space, exploded. Oh, and that we mustn’t eat the rocket as they can’t guarantee what space has done to it!
With all that hard work done, we set off in need of refreshments. We cycled 35 minutes along the coastline to one of our favourite cafes, and had some very scrummy pink lemonade (the little lady) and ginger beer 🙂 We always try and visit a teashop, cafe, or have an ice cream on Mamma days…..a great tradition!!