Texarkana school wins 2 prizes at NASA competition
TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL / KMSS) – St. James Day School has won two awards in a NASA competition.
A group of students from the Texarkana School took part in NASA’s “Plant the Moon” Challenge, a global science experiment to see who can grow the best crops using a lunar regolith simulant. Regolith is the layer of unconsolidated bedrock material overlying bedrock.
“It was just exciting to know, to be able to tell the kids from the start that your work is genuine,” said Nicole Ayers, math and science teacher. “It’s not your professor rating you, it’s a professor, a field researcher with that NASA logo on it.”
Middle school students used inorganic materials to grow edible foods, plants, and create an ecosystem on lunar soil, similar to the type of soil one would find on the moon.
“I think it’s nice because I’m learning a lot about lunar regolith and growing things in space and everything about NASA,” said seventh student Katherine Ayers.
In the first year of participation, students won awards for performance evaluation and innovation.
“We really tried to think outside the box with our project. They designed a wick system to self-water the plants. They made dumplings from the lunar regolith. So we just tried to take non-standardized approaches, ”their teacher explained.
The “Plant the Moon” challenge is more than a global science experiment to see who can grow the best crops. It also helps students learn valuable life skills.
“It’s about being part of a team, working together, learning and enjoying the moment,” says Abigail Thompson, a sixth-grade student.
The students spent months of observation and research. The competition required a lot of scientific material. They even received an aquaponics donation from AquaSprouts Founder and CEO Jack Ikard to use in their project after their teacher researched some of the materials they needed to complete the project.
“It really increased the level of seriousness for everyone to make sure we were giving our best,” Nicole said.
The students also created a YouTube video and website to share their experience and research.
“It’s really cool that our school is doing unique things like ‘Plant the Moon’ and the Science Olympiad,” said seventh grader Staten Crossland.