We have a bag of tomatoes seeds that have been to outer space. We also have some regular tomato seeds. So we’re going to plant them all and see what happens.
We started our last big project for science today. Growing plants in our compost, worm castings and plain dirt. Seems pretty easy, but making the class think scientifically was a real task. They understand the reason and most stepped up on the procedure process.
The toughest step was sifting the dirt, compost and the worm castings. I really want the students to better understand the process of removing as many variables as possible so our experiment can be as valid as possible.
The compost sifted well. My home made sifter was a huge success. I would certainly like to make a more mechanical one, but this one went over well.
The potting soil was pretty easy, too. It was quite dry and crumbly. But it sifted out well.
Now, let’s talk about the worm castings. I learned a lot from this process. The worm bag is very neat, but I can’t say it’s super simple to get the castings out. So in the process of getting the castings out I got a lot of worms. I thought that would be ok since we’re going to sift it. Nope. When we tried to sift the castings almost all the worms slipped through the holes and got into the finished product.
I explained to the class that we’ll have to have a meeting tomorrow and discuss what we’ll do about the worms in the potting soil. Will they help or hurt our experiment? I was pleased that they all looked intense and thoughtful. Hopefully tomorrow they’ll have a good solution to our problem.
I don’t think the worms will give an unfair advantage, but I am excited to hear what the students suggest.
We are going to track the amount of water we give each plant and hopefully we’ll measure the growth over 3 weeks. Our contingency plan is to extend the experiment for 2 additional weeks. We all agreed that in 5 weeks we’ll see some kind of growth and be able to write a review to send to NASA.
We’re going to measure out the soil mediums and fill the pots tomorrow. We’re trying to keep this experiment as valid as we can.
The students were very engaged. They had lots of good ideas and suggestions. We are all excited about this project. Can’t wait to report back.