Pro­ject is out of this world

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Jonathan Ged­des

St Charles’ Pri­mary are set to boldly go where no school pupils have gone be­fore.

They are tak­ing part in a new pro­ject where they’ll be grow­ing seeds that have pre­vi­ously been into outer space.

And the Cam­bus­lang school will now have their very own space race, as they will com­pare the seeds from space with those that have not been away over sev­eral weeks.

It’s all part of the ed­u­ca­tional pro­ject Rocket Sci­ence, which has been launched by the RHS Cam­paign for School Gar­den­ing and the UK Space Agency.

In Septem­ber, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion (ISS) on Soyuz 44S.

They have spent sev­eral months in mi­cro­grav­ity, and are re­turn­ing to Earth this month.

St Charles’ young­sters will be given a packet of 100 seeds from space, along with seeds that haven’t been to space, and they won’t be told which packet is which.

Then they will be mea­sur­ing the dif­fer­ences be­tween the seeds, with fi­nal data be­ing an­a­lysed by pro­fes­sional bio­statis­ti­cians.

St Charles’ teacher Rose Hewitt thinks the idea has sev­eral ben­e­fits for the kids.

She 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 share their find­ings with the whole school.

The Gar­den­ing Club will be run­ning this ex­per­i­ment and shar­ing their find­ings with the whole school at as­sem­bly.”

Among the ar­eas the pro­ject will cover are en­abling the chil­dren to think more about how we could pre­serve hu­man life on an­other planet in the fu­ture, what as­tro­nauts need to sur­vive while on long-term mis­sions in space and the dif­fi­cul­ties sur­round­ing grow­ing fresh food in chal­leng­ing cli­mates.

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 in­spire young peo­ple to look into ca­reers in STEM (sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths) sub­jects, in­clud­ing horticulture.

Space Race Pupils at St Charles’ tak­ing part in the pro­ject, in­clud­ing Neve Mur­ray and Kiera Cochrane hold­ing the seeds, with teacher Rose Hewitt at the back.

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