Sowing the seeds of interest in science

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Children at Buckingham Primary School are preparing to become space biologists, by growing seeds that have been into space.

In September, 2kg of seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S, where they spent several months in microgravity before returning to Earth in March this year.

The seeds – appropriately the herb rocket – have been sent as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.

Buckingham Primary School is one of up to 10,000 schools to receive a packet of 100 seeds from space, which they will grow alongside seeds that have not been to space and measure the differences over seven weeks.

The Year 5 children will not know which seed packet contains which seeds until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

Year 5 leader Judy Stocker said: “We are very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science.

“This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching our pupils to think more scientifically and share their findings with the whole school.”

Rocket Science has been developed to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

Mrs Stocker was also one of the teachers chosen to take part in a live chat session with Tim Peake at York University.

Teachers from the UK, Norway and Poland asked the British astronaut questions about his career and aspirations, and the Year 5 pupils watched the live session in school.