School’s space seeds project is out of this world

St Aloysius Primary School rocket seed experiment.
St Aloysius Primary School rocket seed experiment.
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Pupils at a South Tyneside primary school have been planting seeds ‘from space’ as part of a national scientific experiment.

Youngsters from St Aloysius Federation in Hebburn have spent the last six weeks nurturing and growing salad leaf rocket from two batches of seeds.

Callum Harrison aged 8.

Callum Harrison aged 8.

Only one of the packs have spent time on the international space station.

The project is being run by the Space Agency and supported by British astronaut Tim Peake, who launched the project from a video message during his space trip.

The comparison has never been made on this scale before.

In charge of the project at St Aloysius was former teacher Angela Harrison, who turned her interest in science and maths into her own business.

The pupils were really engaged. Every session they remained focused on what they were doing and asked lots of questions.

Angela Harrison

Pupils were required to plant the seeds separately in trays, with students recording the number of leaves and growth on a wall chart following guidance from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The experiment aims to further understand how factors such as zero gravity can affect plant growth and development.

It is hoped the results will help scientists to determine which crops will be the best to grow in a ‘space garden’.

The seeds spent six months in space before they were brought back to Earth and handed out to the 8,500 schools, children’s clubs and societies who signed up to take part.

Pupils who take part in the experiment will each receive a CREST star award from the British Science Association.

Mrs Harrison said: “The pupils absolutely loved it and the feedback from the school has been brilliant.

“They found it really interesting and loved comparing the growth of the seeds.

“The pupils were really engaged with everything.

“Every session they remained focused on what they were doing and asked lots of questions.”

Once the data is compiled from the schools that took part in the experiment, the results will be published in September.

Angela runs after-school science clubs through her business Green Shift Education launched with the help of TEDCO.

It provides interactive workshops and learning programmes through the clubs and children’s science parties.

For more information about Green Shift Educational Services Ltd, to book a science party or workshop, visit www.greenshifteducation.co.uk