ExoLab Homeschool Astrobotany - Magnitude.io

A virtual high school level science class using ExoLab-8, a mission on the International Space Station, from the comfort of your own home!

Class Size: 15 students only

Subject/Course Level: Biology/High school
Instructor: Lori Waters

About the Course

With a legume plant as the primary phenomenon, this semester-long project-based learning course will enable students to conduct authentic independent research under the guidance of a science educator. Using inquiry-based methods, students will conduct literature reviews, formulate a research proposal, conduct an investigation, and present results. View the syllabus.

Guest speakers may be arranged based on particular topics and student interest, and these scheduled sessions may occur on different weeks depending on availability. While the main investigations will use the ExoLab, students may engage in other weekly hands-on activities that build understanding and deepen their inquiry skills. Students would be enrolled on the Magnitude.io platform for lesson content and enrichment. Live class sessions would be held through Google Meet.

Please sign up to have a one-on-one interview with Lori at her office hours.

What is included…


ExoLab ChamberAn IOT device with an array of sensors monitoring the entire duration of the experiment.$399
1-year Subscription of the LMSEvery student has a account to their work with their teacher.$26
12-15 custom lessons aligned to NGSS
ISS Flight Ticket For ExoLab-8Access to the LIVE experiment on the International Space Station in February$50
Experiment KitSeed packs and tools to conduct ground trails and while on the ISS.$49
Homeschool Course Fee15 weeks – 1 hour of virtual live instruction$375

✅   Conduct real-world research with hands-on science

✅   Small class sizes, personalized to student needs and interests 

✅   Inquiry-based pedagogy, project-based learning

✅   Taught by an award-winning AP Science teacher

✅   Prepare for college, great for applications!

✅   Take as a homeschool science class or STEM extracurricular

✅   Integrates well with local learning pods

Credits: Earn 1 semester/ 2 quarters of home school science credit.

Grading: Letter grade and certificate of completion provided.

Hours & Format: 15 weeks – 1 hour of virtual live instruction, 2-4 hours of independent study/ week

Terms offered: Fall 2020, Spring 2021

Prerequisites: Fundamentals of biology. Reading and writing proficiency in English.

Start date: September 14th, 2020

Lori Waters is a Distance Learning Communications and Education Leader with Magnitude.io. As a co-investigator for the ExoLab legume-Rhizobia microgravity mission, she is actively engaged in scientific research and experimental design for the mission. In addition to mentoring teachers and developing content for the Magnitude Classroom, she is leading students in an inquiry-based course to conduct independent astrobotany research.

Waters is a current homeschool educator and former educator in charter and private schools as well as the Orlando Science Center. She has taught general education subjects, Earth and Space Science, Biology, and AP Environmental Science. Her students engaged in project-based learning with the Leguminaut Challenge, Tomatosphere, Space Chile Pepper Challenge, and Johnson Space Center Lunar and Meteorite sample disk program. In 2019, she received the Foundation Academy Principal’s Award for her innovative inquiry-based science instruction. Waters holds Florida Professional Educator Certification in four core subject areas. She is a graduate of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Academy for Educators and Space Center Houston’s Space University for Educators. Waters brings twenty years of experience to the Magnitude.io team across the fields of education, public relations, government relations, and space science.

She received her BA in Political Science from Furman University, MBA from the University of Phoenix, and Science Teaching Graduate Certificate from the University of Florida. She is currently enrolled in the University of North Dakota Space Studies Masters of Science program. In summer 2020, she completed a Teacher in Training internship with the NASA Ames GeneLab for High Schools program.


*Subject to changes and availability

Week 1: Introduction to mission, scientific inquiry, and set up the first ExoLab-8 experiment.

Week 2: Media stories vs. literature reviews; Legume, rhizobia, and plant science basics.

Week 3: Soil science, plant nutrients, and fertilizers; Research topic brainstorm and selection.

Week 4: Tropisms and plant research aboard the International Space Station; Topic selection and begin developing a research proposal.

Week 5: Review outcome of first experiment in the ExoLab; Continue developing a research proposal and create a powerpoint or prezi to present your concept.

Week 6: Oral defense presenting research proposal and receiving feedback.

Week 7: Experiment set-up and begin trials; Introduction to Bioinformatics.

Week 8: Part 1 data analysis using the NASA Ames GeneLab platform, the Gilroy Lab platform, and other similar data science platforms; Collect data from experiment.

Week 9: Part 2 data analysis using the NASA Ames GeneLab platform, the Gilroy Lab platform, and other similar data science platforms; Collect data from experiment.

Week 10: Collect data from experiment. Focus on food sustainability.

Week 11: Discuss and compare initial findings. Growing plants on the Moon and Mars.

Week 12: Design a presentation and compile a research paper to communicate findings. Special topic determined by students or presentation by a guest speaker.

Week 13: Finalize presentation and research paper. Special topic determined by students or presentation by a guest speaker.

Week 14: Student Presentations. During the fall semester, two sessions will be held this week to enable sufficient time for students to make presentations. Time may also be extended to accommodate the number of students enrolled.

Week 15 (spring only): Student Presentations.

Speak with the Instructor at her office hours…