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Tomatosphere uses the excitement of space exploration as a way to teach the skills and processes of scientific inquiry. In the Seed Investigation, students examine the effects of the space environment on the germination of tomato seeds.
As humans seek ways to travel deeper into space, we must discover ways to expand life support systems. One possible solution is a plant based system. Tomato plants are an ideal choice as they provide wholesome nourishment and water through transpiration from their leaves. Through photosynthesis, tomato plants also convert light energy and carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts into oxygen that is needed for survival.
Tomatosphere Seed Investigation includes planting two sets of tomato seeds (one exposed to space or space like conditions and the other untreated), examining and recording the germination of seeds, and submitting the results. Follow the step by step guide below.
Scientific Inquiry and Tomatosphere offers an excellent opportunity to have your students think and act like scientists as they practice their inquiry skills and develop understandings of the nature of science and the concept of a fair test.
As students engage in the steps of the Seed Investigation these skills can be introduced and practiced with the support of a variety of resources and suggested learning experiences that are appropriate to different ages and levels of understanding.
In the Seed Investigation, students will compare the number of seeds that germinate from two sets of tomato seeds. One set of seeds have been sent into space or treated in space simulated conditions ( seeds), and the other set of seeds (the seeds), have not been to space or been treated in space simulated conditions.
Tomatosphere Models a Fair Test
The simple and well designed Seed Investigation is a valuable tool for modeling a fair test. Fair testing is a key component of scientific inquiry and a common method used by scientists world wide to provide evidential proof of their ideas and theories.
Learn about scientific inquiry,
fair testing and the nature of science
Tomatosphere is a Blind Test
As part of ensuring a fair test, you will not know which of the seeds have been in space, or if they have been treated or untreated, until the germination process is complete and results are submitted.
Register and/or Order Seeds
When you go to order seeds, you’ll be registered with a Let’s Talk Science account if you don’t have one already.
Seeds are typically mailed out between February and April.
You should receive an automated response once you submit your seed order.
Review and prepare the program materials
A. Familiarize yourself with the Tomatosphere resources
We recommend that you read through this guide and explore resources that support this guide. Plan a time to do the Seed Investigation
Initiate the planting of seeds on Wednesday or Thursday. It usually takes 5 7 days for the first seeds to germinate and students should then be present to see the first visible signs of germination.
Do not plant the seeds prior to a school break, such as the traditional spring break or religious holidays, when you might not have the opportunity to water the plants properly, or when the temperature in the school may be lowered (which may affect growth).
Seeds are sent out once a year between February and April, however you can choose to start the program in the spring or the fall.
C. Schedule the planting and observation
D. Obtain and prepare the materials you will receive from Tomatosphere should receive two packages of seeds (marked with two different letters). One package contains the “control” seeds (untreated) and the other package contains the seeds (treated),
which have been exposed to space or space like conditions.