Objectives

  • Students will investigate the value of green plants in space research .
  • Students will list the qualities required such as excellent food source, generator of oxygen, physical space requirements.
  • Students will discover the best converter of light energy to biomass .

Materials

  • Wheat or Rye seed
  • Oats (whole only, not milled)
  • Corn seed
  • Potting soil
  • 3 half-gallon milk cartons
  • Balance scale
  • Grow-type fluorescent lamp (top of plants should be 7.5-10 cm from lamp)

Procedure

  • Procedure A
    • Cut the milk cartons in half and poke drainage holes in the bottom of each carton
    • Fill with potting soil and plant the seeds
    • Keep moist
    • Grow the plants under a fluorescent lamp
    • Record your results on a graph
  • Procedure B
    • After 14 days pull the plants
    • Wash off the dirt and dry with a paper towel
    • Weight the plants and record the results on a graph
  • Procedure C
    • Dry the plants in the sun until they are crisp
    • Weight plants and record the results on a graph

Questions

  • Have the students think about and answer how the plants will help the atmosphere on an International Space Station .
  • Which plant is the best converter of light energy to biomass?
  • How can knowing more about plant growth in space benefit plant growth on earth?