ExoLab Investigations in Astrobotany - Magnitude.io


A virtual class for elementary and middle school students using ExoLab-8, a mission on the International Space Station, from the comfort of your own home!

Class Size: Max of 15 students per cohort

Subject/Course Level: 3rd – 6th Grade
Instructor: Michal Wilkinson

About the Course

With a legume plant as the primary phenomenon, this semester-long, project-based learning course will engage students in authentic scientific research. Using inquiry-based methods, students will use their direct observations and background research to develop their hypotheses and carry out experimental research. Students will present their findings at the end of the semester through a virtual symposium. 

Students may also have the opportunity to interact with guest experts in space exploration and astrobotany as schedules allow. While the main investigations will utilize the ExoLab research platform, students will engage in other hands-on activities that build their inquiry skills and deepen their conceptual understanding. Students will be enrolled in an online learning platform, the Magnitude.io Classroom, for lesson content, with live interactive sessions held via GoogleMeet.

Please sign up for a one-on-one session with Michael to learn more about the program. (Students are encouraged to join at least part of this session with their significant adult.)

 

What is included…

Segment 1: Preflight Ground Trials (design and conduct experiments to understand the growth of legumes and their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria and establish control data and plan for space flight)

Segment 2: Flight Trials and Postflight Analysis (engage in an experiment aboard the ISS comparing the growth of legumes and their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria in a microgravity environment, engage in analysis of specimens postflight to assess the physiological effects of microgravity )

Complete Package
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. 12-15 custom lessons aligned to NGSS.$26
ISS Flight Ticket For ExoLab-8Access to the LIVE experiment on the International Space Station in February$50
Experiment Kit38×200 mm test tubes with a custom rack, growth media, seeds, and basic tools$49
Homeschool Course Fee15 weeks – 1 hour of virtual live instruction$375
Semester Per Student Total:$899
No Lab Package
1-year Subscription of the LMSEvery student has an account to their work with their teacher.12-15 custom lessons aligned to NGSS.$26
ISS Flight Ticket For ExoLab-8Access to the LIVE experiment on the International Space Station in February$50
Experiment Kit38×200 mm test tubes with a custom rack, growth media, seeds, and basic tools$49
Homeschool Course Fee15 weeks – 1 hour of virtual live instruction$375
Semester Per Student Total:$500

✅   Conduct authentic 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 science teacher

✅   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


Assessment: Anecdotal report of student development and certificate of completion


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


Terms offered: Fall 2020, Spring 2021


Start date: Currently open

Michael Wilkinson is the Director of Education for Magnitude.io and the Principal Investigator for the ExoLab Legume-Rhizobia microgravity missions. He is actively engaged in scientific research and experimental design for the mission and mentoring other educators and developing inquiry-based curriculum for participating students. 

Wilkinson is a classroom mathematics and science teacher with more than three decades of experience teaching in the NYC metropolitan area. He has conducted professional development workshops of STEM educators throughout the United States and internationally. Wilkinson is a NASA Master Teacher with the Airborne Sciences and Earth Sciences mission directorates, working with the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, IceBridge and ICESat, and Global Precipitation Monitoring missions. He is an inaugural crewmember of the Space Center Houston Space Exploration Crew. Wilkinson is known as an innovator of hands-on curriculum for mathematics and science, presenting at national annual conferences including National Science Teachers, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, International Space Station Research & Development, and Space Exploration Educators Conference.

Syllabus

*Subject to changes and availability

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

Week 2: Legume, rhizobia, and plant science basics.

Week 3: Soil science, plant nutrients, and fertilizers

Week 4: Tropisms and plant research aboard the International Space Station 

Week 5: Review outcome of first experiment in the ExoLab

WeeK 6: Develop Hypothesis and Experimental Questions for follow up investigation

Week 7: Background research and experimental design

Week 8: Initiate follow up investigations, data collection protocols

Week 9: Human nutrition with focus on needs for space exploration

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 poster, slide deck, and/or  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.