Monday, 4 February 2013

Roots and Shoots

Clearly a space craft window!
Today my gardener put me (with my sister) in some cotton wool and then, for some reason, put me in a zippy bag. At that point I was very confused! I overheard that they were going to put me in a space window which is some sort of clear plastic thing hanging on the wall.


My second week of being on the wall wasn't very fun. I kept on falling off. It was kind of like a roller coaster ride but then it stopped because my gardener put me back up!


It hasn't been a very good week because my sister has gone mouldy. There is an up side because I have started to germinate, FINALLY! I'm really excited that I have germinated because all the other beans in the other windows had already germinated and I was feeling left out. I am now in happy land!"
Extract from a diary written by Abby, age 9.

Happy land indeed! The space beans (or at least most of them,) have germinated. The children are still excited about the project and have started to write their first diary entries from their beans' perspectives. We've secured the 'spacecraft windows' to the wall more efficiently and they don't seem to tumble quite so readily when the children let the classroom door swing shut with its full force: gravity will not defeat us so easily in our growing of space plants!

I'm hopeful that my colleagues won't venture into the abandoned play shed in the near future, as we've set up our 'compost tea' factory behind the Wellington boots. The children have been bringing in vegetable and fruit peelings from home to add to the blend. I'm hoping it will be a refreshing and invigorating blend of potato with citrus tones - we'll have to wait and see what the beans make of it... 

This project is adapted for the classroom (by children) from the experiments of astronaut Don Pettit in Diary of a Space Zucchini.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Space to learn...

Well it's a new year (Happy New Year to all who celebrate it!) and a new class topic, luckily for me all bar one of the classes I work with are studying space this term which is great, it's one of my favourite topics! I have so far discovered that if there are no watermelons in the shops, a cauliflower makes a reasonable Jupiter and also that if Mars is a blueberry, keep it in a separate container so it doesn't get squashed on the way to school!

It was nice to get back to the outdoor learning sites this week after the holidays. I was pleased to find that the beds with leaves spread over them are far less weed ridden than those without - it was a task well worth doing!

I spent the morning in the Scrapstore getting resources to create telescopes and found some clear plastic containers which could become Earth-based space craft windows. My mind started wandering and now I have a plan to create some Zero-G style growing experiments similar to the ones carried out by astronaut Don Pettit on the ISS last year, only with 1G and a lot more children! I'm looking forward to seeing the experiments the children design to house in their spacecraft windows and reading the diaries they are going to write. I'll put a link to their blog once they've got something written. Scrapstores are brilliant places for finding new ideas and you get to recycle things in the process.

As far as the Growers' Nation project is going, there has been lots of work happening behind the scenes both with the user interface and the science behind the app. We're hoping to be trialling some things later in the year but I shall tell you about them another time.

I need to go and learn some Russian so that I am at least one lesson ahead of the children - we're having a break from learning French this term to fit in with the topic. Hopefully one of the children will use it to help secure their place on a future flight into orbit! If not, at least we'll all be a bit better at understanding different languages and cultures. До свидания