STEM education and project based learning in Space for K12, NGSS

ExoLab is an experiment platform that brings together classrooms and the International Space Station in a collaborative investigation of the effects of microgravity on living things. ExoLab is designed with lesson sequence for 6th – 12th grade based on the NGSS. The International Space Station (ISS) is home to advanced microgravity research for academia and industry. Working with school districts across the United States along with the U.S. National Laboratory, seeks to provide an extraordinary exobiology experience mapped to accepted local science standards while dramatically reducing the cost to access experiments in space.

The experiments are initiated on the ISS in accordance with resupply missions. This allows for multiple experiments per year, giving options on when to align the classroom experiment with the ISS experiment. Students look for relationships between the environmental conditions, including the effect of microgravity on the growth of living things in general.

Flight Schedule

ExoLab #DateResupply MissionExperiment
1Feb 2017SpX-10Arabidopsis thaliana
2October 2017OA-8Arabidopsis thaliana
3April 2018SpX-14Arabidopsis thaliana
4July 2018SpX-15Amaranth, Chard, Mizuna, Purslane
5Dec 2018SpX-16 Amaranth, Pak Choy, Purslane, Wasabi
6July 2019SpX-18Rhizobium Legumin
7Feb 2020
NG-13 (returns on SpX-20 4/2/2020)
Rhizobium Inoculum
8Feb 2021NG-15 - SpX-22 (return)Legumes in Space
9Aug 2021SpX-23Legumes in Space
10Oct 2022SpX-26Carbon Farmer

The dimensions of the ExoLab device both terrestrially and in-orbit are based on the common CubeSat specification, which standardizes satellite payloads in an approximate 10 cm cuboid format. ExoLab is in a 2U format, which means that its dimensions are 10 x 10 x 22 cm, approximately.

Within this compact frame are a series of sensors to capture, record, and report data, including images, as well as system to keep the test organisms alive. All of these operate autonomously and continuously.

  • Luminosity
  • Temperature
  • CO2
  • Humidity
  • Camera
  • WiFi

The International Space Station (ISS) is Earth’s largest artificial satellite. Larger than a football field and weighing more than 450 tons, the ISS is home to the only US National Laboratory not on Earth.

Plants in Space | Unit description: (5E Science Method)

The Plants in Space Unit introduces students to the science practices necessary to conduct rigorous investigations, with the goal of understanding the factors that affect plant growth on Earth and in space. Growing Arabidopsis plants in the ExoLab module provides an elegant way to collect comparable data in both settings, and the online environment students use gives them access to data organization, graphing, and analysis tools. Over the course of five lessons, students acquire the investigation skills and information they need answer the unit question: What do plants need to grow in space?

Learn more…

The Classroom platform (LMS) is where the entire ExoLab experience comes together. Not only students and teachers log on to the platform to make their comparison observation with the International Space Station, but they can also compare their plant data and images with students from around the US and other countries.

A Learning Management System (LMS) that captures the student progress, reports assessment and reduces the workload for teachers for blended learning.

  • Lesson Library
  • Guided Lesson Interface
  • Quiz Tool
  • Data Visualization Tool
  • Online NotePad
  • Live Performance Dashboard
  • Observation Deck with the International Space Station
  • Formative and Summative Assessment