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Lesson Title: Lunar Plant Growth Chamber
May 11, 2012

Unit: Engineering - Design Process

Grade Levels: 5-8

Connection To Curriculum: Life Science and Technology

Teacher Prep Time: 3 hours

Lesson Time Needed: 12-18 days

Complexity Advanced

Keywords: botany, design process, ecosystem


Research materials
Computers with Internet access
Presentation equipment
See also the Design Challenge Brief in Appendix
Worksheet: Growth Chamber Plant List in Appendix
Worksheet: Top Five Plant List Worksheet
Art knives and/or scissors
Poster board, tag board and/or cardboard
Hot glue and glue guns
Masking tape and/or packing tape
(A number of readily available materials may be used for building the lunar plant growth chamber.)
Wood glue and/or plastic cement
Staple gun and staples
Electric wire
Clear plastic sheet
Screws and nails
Plastic tubing and syringes
Light bulbs and fixtures and hinges

An activity to grow plants in an environment similar to the moon designed in a unique partnership between NASA scientists and engineers and education professionals. The lesson incorporates leading-edge insight and practical experiences for students on how NASA works with plants.

Students will:
• Describe the need for life science research on the International Space Station and the moon.
• Identify various plant species that are suitable for lunar plant growth and their requirements.

First page of Lunar Plant Growth Chamber

Lesson Guide
Lunar Plant Growth Chamber Lesson
[86KB PDF file]



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Lesson Activities and Sequence
Introduction to STS–118 Mission and the Design Challenge

  1. Choosing Plant Species
    Students inspect the list of plants with their positive and negative characteristics from Lesson 1 and select five plants they would like to study further. With a partner, students research the plants they have selected to determine the plants' requirements for healthy growth.
  2. Designing the Plant Growth Chamber
    Students list all the subsystems they need to design to meet the requirements of their selected plant species. Students search the Internet for descriptions, sketches, drawings, etc., of proposed lunar habitats, greenhouses and other structures.
  3. Building the Plant Growth Chamber
    Students build and use growth chambers of their own design.

Keywords: botany, design process, ecosystem

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• The dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.
Life Sciences
• Organisms and environments.
Science in Technology
• Abilities of technological design.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes.
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
Research and Information Fluency
• Plan strategies to guide inquiry.
• Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
• Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
• Process data and report results.
Technology Operations and Concepts
• Understand and use technology systems.
• Select and use applications effectively and productively.
• Troubleshoot systems and applications.


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator