Alabama students learn about space through tomatoes
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — There are a few theories floating around Kay Love’s classroom at Northside High School.
For the last week, 130 of Love’s students have been involved in a project in which they have been growing two kinds of tomatoes: one set of seeds that have been kept on Earth and another set that have been through the International Space Station.
Are the differences between the two seeds?
“A lot of the kids have different ideas,” said Love, who teaches different science courses at Northside.
Phoenix Lucio, a freshman in Love’s pre-AP biology class, thinks the seeds from space may grow faster.
“I don’t know how the tomatoes would work, but maybe that would be different,” Phoenix said.
Troy Odom, a senior, thinks the Earth seeds might grow faster, but is curious to see how the space seeds will fare.
“I think it would be pretty cool if that would be successful and could lead to some interesting things,” Troy said.
The seeds only just sprouted in the last couple of days, but the students will be spending the rest of the semester gauging their growth and the differences between the two set of seeds in each group. In a few more weeks, the sprouts will grow more and bear fruit.
Love said the idea for the project came from a presentation she had heard about called Tomatosphere, a program that uses student observation of tomato seeds from Earth and in space to gauge which kinds of foods would last longer or grow better in space during exploration missions. At the end of the school year, Love’s classes will turn their results in to Tomatosphere.
“This is a little bit of different approach for us,” Love said.
Troy, who wants to be an engineer when he gets older, said he looks at the project differently than other classroom assignments because other people would be looking at the work he and his fellow students were doing.
“It definitely gives you a different perspective,” Troy said.
Phoenix said her younger sister, Dakota, is interested in space and wants to be an astronaut one day.
“It’s something she would be interested in,” she said.
Love said that while she realizes not every student has aspirations to be a scientist or astronaut, what the tomato project does is teach them how to work with one another and how to apply the scientific method to their daily lives.
“Science is a process,” she said.
Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com