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Science in Space

Over the past month, three year five girls, Georgia, Holly and Lara, have become budding space scientists, by taking part in an experiment to discover whether seeds that had been taken into space would germinate and grow as well as seeds that had remained within the earth’s gravitational force.

Two kilograms of rocket seeds had previously been taken into space by Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut, and stored in microgravity on the International Space Station.  On their return to earth, one hundred of the seeds were sent to Somercotes Academy, who enlisted the help of local primary schools to carry out the relevant tests.

On their first visit to Somercotes Academy, the girls were taught how to plant and record data concerning the seeds, ten of which had been into space, and ten others that hadn’t. They were labelled red and blue seeds, but no one knew which seeds were which.

Over the coming weeks, Georgia, Holly and Lara measured: how quickly the seeds germinated, which ones got their true leaves first and how tall and fast the plants grew.

On their next visit to Somercotes they shared their data with the other schools and concluded that, in each case, more of the blue seeds had died but still no one knew which seeds had been into space. 

Then the fun began!

Each child, and accompanying adults, got the chance to eat some space food that the astronauts actually took into space. The sealed bags were very light, due to the food being dehydrated. They tried strawberries and ice cream, the strawberries tasting very powdery but the ice cream, although hard in texture was very creamy and melted in your mouth.

Next was the rocket challenge.  The task was to design, decorate and fire a rocket fuelled by gas generated from Alka Seltzers reacting with water. The North Cockerington rocket travelled the third furthest.

The morning ended literally with a bang!  Mr. Stiff, the science teacher, poured some ethanol in a large plastic drum and swilled it round. He then poured off the excess and sealed the drum, allowing the gas from the evaporating ethanol to build up.  With everyone standing well clear and the lights off, he removed the bung and lit the escaping vapour!!!  WHOOSH!! Everyone jumped as the flames shot out from the neck of the container.  We had BLAST OFF!! 

Enjoying planting the rocket seeds.