ExoLab is an experimental platform that brings together classrooms and the International Space Station in a collaborative investigation of the effects of microgravity on living things.
(1) ExoLab Growth Chamber
(2) Experiment Supply
(3) 1-year classroom subscription to the learning management platform with lessons mapped to NGSS
(4) Access to the live orbital experiment on ISS
(5) Weekly video conference
(6) Post-flight RNA analysis
(7) Data science analysis
(8) Certificate of Completion
District license is available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
(If you have an ExoLab Growth Chamber already, please purchase on this page)
Join the complete mission to the International Space Station in February 2021. Collaborate with teachers around the world! Program includes summer professional development, ground trials, realtime connection to the ISS during the mission, and post flight participation in epigenetic research via RNA sequencing.
The Experiment: ExoLab-8
Motivation: Microgravity environments enabled by the International Space Station provide a unique opportunity to study the symbiotic relationship between the roots of leguminous plants and nitrogen fixing bacteria. The nodulation that occurs on Earth is a necessary component to healthy soils and the process will need to be replicated in microgravity to support the future of space travel.
Research goals: Identify the optimal combination of legume, bacteria, and soil to produce nodulation in the harsh environment of the Space Tango lockers on the ISS; seek to identify an novel gene expressions that may have changed due to the stresses of microgravity.
Process: We begin by selecting in advance the type of bacteria we wish to use for the experiment: Rhizobium. We then conduct multiple experiments (outlined below) to determine the legume and the growth medium that will be used in microgravity.
Summer Professional Development
This year, the ExoLab program will include a self-paced Professional Development course to get your classroom ready to integrate ExoLab-8 into the 2020-21 school year.
We empathize and understand that classrooms may look unconventional this semester, so we will be leading teachers through practical applications of blended learning models, from best practices for a remote science lab to impactful socially distanced hands-on activities.
Included in enrollment, our grade-level advisors will be available throughout the length of the course for regular live sessions to support your specific classroom needs.
In addition, teachers will
- Be prepared to use ExoLab-8 to supplement their curriculum throughout the 2020-21 school year.
- Gain comfort with the Magnitude platform, the lesson content, the ExoLab device, the experiment, the science, and conditions of microgravity on the International Space Station.
- Gain confidence in their ability to modify, create, assign, and deliver impactful experiment-based lessons about the ExoLab-8 experiment.
- Gain proficiency in pedagogical practices and science practices such as science protocols, experimental design, data collection, data analysis.
- Be empowered to design and participate in holistic science experiments.
- Acquire skills to evaluate student science experiments.
Our extensive NGSS-aligned Curriculum Library within the Magnitude Classroom follows the 5E instructional framework, and is intended to support your students throughout the year as they progress through the ExoLab-8 mission.
For Fall 2020 (August-December), our ExoLab-8 curriculum will offer extensive opportunities for your students to participate in grade-appropriate plant growth experiments. Whether they are in the classroom or at home, your students will choose between nine different legume plants, learn what critical elements are needed for life, and explore the biology, chemistry, and environmental science often buried inside soil: the symbiotic relationship between legume plant roots and the nitrogen-fixing bacteria, Rhizobium. In a successful experiment, this relationship will produce visible nodules attached to the roots which play a critical role in the nitrogen cycle.
On Orbit Experience
In February 2021, one of the nine possible legume seeds will be sent to grow for 30 days in microgravity, caught in the Earth’s orbit aboard the International Space Station. Through the Magnitude Classroom, students will have near real-time imagery of the growing seedlings and can observe how microgravity impedes or improves plant growth, and if the nodulation that occurs on Earth through the symbiotic legume-rhizobium relationship can be replicated in space.
In Spring 2021 (March-May), when the space-grown legume plants have returned to Earth, students will have the opportunity to examine research-grade genetic lab analyses to identify any novel gene expressions that may have changed in the plant due to the stresses of microgravity. Using student-friendly technology, students will have the opportunity to manipulate and visualize their data, explain their research, and practice designing future follow up experiments. At the end of the program, classrooms will receive an ExoLab-8 mission patch as recognition for their completion of the mission.
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