It’s a science project that’s out of this world.
Hundreds of Lodi Unified School District students are working with the International Space Station. They’re studying how microgravity impacts the growth of plants.
When astronaut Scott Kelly returned from a year aboard the International Space Station in March of 2016, they compared him to his twin brother, to see how low gravity – also known as microgravity – affects the human body.
Students at Lodi USD’s Christa McAuliffe Middle School are growing that exact same plant in similar conditions, with the addition – of course – of Earth’s gravity.
“I really feel the ExoLab is getting the kids excited,” science teacher Samantha McCoy told ABC10 in her classroom. “They do want to look at it, and we look at it, like, everyday.”
“It’s very interesting how we can actually compare something that’s going on in space to Earth,” added McCoy’s student, seventh grader Casmir Gebai.
ExoLab comes from a Berkeley-based company called Magnitude.io.
CEO Ted Tagami was at Lodi USD’s Creekside Elementary Friday, teaching kids about the project.
“Our challenge really was to get access to extraordinary experiences for students that normally wouldn’t have that opportunity,” he told ABC10. “So what can we do to impart excitement, curiosity and encourage these young people that there is a future beyond what they might think of as their future? I think there are some very ambitious young people, and we want to keep that curiosity alive.”
That’s why ExoLab is in elementary, middle schools, and high school classrooms alike. Lodi USD has 15 teachers using the project, teaching a total of some 300 students. And Tagami said ExoLab is in a total of seven states, plus some other countries. Students in Stockton and Manteca are also working with Magnitude.io.