Tomatosphere!

TOMATOSPHERE!
Does that sound a bit likeOuter Space’? …Well, it is!

For nine years now, the Canadian Space Agency, the University of Guelph, Agriculture Canada, Heinz Foods, and Stokes Seeds have participated with over 12,000 schools in Canada and the USA to grow tomato seeds as part of a “Mission to Mars” study.

 Astronauts in space for a long time will need nutritious and tasty food, but they have limited room! Tomatoes can be transported as seeds and when grown, provide good nutrition, remove carbon dioxide exhaled by humans, return oxygen to the air, and even provide purified water through transpiration from the leaves! Wow!  …but the question is… will tomato seeds be able to germinate (grow from a seed) and grow healthy plants with lots of fruit?

 We did a “blind study” in our class (no, we didn’t have to wear blindfolds!) for this SCIENCE EXPERIMENT.  We were given two packages of seeds but weren’t told which were the “control group” (normal) and with were the “treatment group” (put in a simulated space environment for 3 months).   We grew our seeds in peat pellets (they look like mini hockey pucks that POP UP into little plant pots!) under our special “grow light” in the classroom. We counted how many germinated and we did some measuring to see which plants grew the best.  We learned how the first seed leaves are very simple so that they can grow fast and we saw how the true leaves were a lot fancier! 

We also tried germinating the seeds in little gel balls.  That didn’t work as well as just planting them in soil.

When the roots started to grow through the pellets, we could transplant them into bigger pots.  They made great Father’s Day presents too!

 

Tomatosphere

logo-tomatosphereWe have been growing tomato seeds in the classroom… but not just “any” tomato seeds… half of these seeds have REALLY been in SPACE on the International Space Station!  Isn’t that incredible!!!

We have been watching them grow and sketching them.  We are collecting data to see which half of the seeds grows best.  This is called a “blind test” because we don’t know which seeds (package “B” or package “T”) are the Space seeds and which are the Control seeds (ones that just stayed on Earth).  When we are finished, we will send out data in and they will tell us the answer to the mystery!

I wonder if anyone in OUR class will go to Space one day?
You can read more about it at:

Painted Lady Caterpillars

Monday June 21
… Butterfly Freedom Day!

The best part of all was RELEASING our butterflies!  It was a little sad to see them go, but we felt so happy so see them flying free.

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… Butterfly Pavilion experience

We got to go INTO THE TENT two at a time! It was SO exciting! When you lick your finger, you can get a butterfly to sit on it. You can even see the little proboscis unroll as they taste the sugars in your saliva.

 

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… Butterfly Pavilion in the library

When most of our butterflies had hatched, we moved them into our “Butterfly Pavilion” tent.  They really enjoyed the sunshine coming through the library windows!

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Monday June 14
… our first butterfly!

We were excited to come into school to see that one butterfly had hatched.  By the end of the day, several more had hatched!  The next day we even got to see one coming out!

Closed wings make good camouflage.

Closed wings make good camouflage.

first_butterfly2

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Friday June 4

… our first pupa!

Those little caterpillars ate and ate and ate! We watched them making “J shapes” and wondered when the magic would happen.

On Friday after school, Mrs. B. saw the first pupa… by Monday there were half a dozen pupae!

Our first pupa!

Our first pupa!