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Chaminade College Preparatory, West Hills, Calif.
A girl and a boy work in a lab

Students Paige and Max run preliminary variations of their experiment in the laboratory. Image Credit: SSEP

Experiment: Microgravity Wine

I enjoy opening email messages as they often give me new ideas to share with my students. The email from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, or SSEP, sparked my interest from just the subject line. I am always looking for opportunities for my students to do more than just learn science from books. I seek avenues for them to actually participate in science.

This program has allowed students to form research groups and craft real research proposals based on questions they developed from what they were learning about microgravity. It has allowed us to evaluate formal scientific proposals from both of our school's campuses, provided an opportunity for students in our graphic arts department to be involved by submitting original designs for our mission patch, and given our science faculty the opportunity to collaborate on a project in several different classes including biology, physiology, chemistry and environmental science.

Our school community partnered with the Medtronic Foundation and Medtronic Diabetes facility for funding and technical support. Medtronic staff joined our science faculty in the initial review to select our top three community projects. Our winning submission came from two of our biology students.

Max, a member of the Class of 2015, describes the SSEP experience: "This experiment was a great opportunity for my partner Paige and me. We spent a lot of time putting the project together and were able to feed off each other's different areas of intelligence to get the best possible experiment. We really enjoyed working with the topic of fermentation as we put together and ran through the preliminary testing of the experiment. After many trials, we came up with what we hope is the optimal amount of reactants for a reliable result. Overall, the SSEP has been a very enjoyable process for the both of us."

To read about the other student experiments for Mission 1 to the International Space Station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/station-here-we-come.html.

Nancy McIntyre/Chaminade College Preparatory