Students Shoot For The Stars


Garden City Public Schools is excited to announce an experiment designed by four of its seventh grade students has been selected as the official flight experiment to be launched into space as part of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). Congratulations to Bridget Coviello, Isabelle DeNoto, Samantha Racich and Elsie Ross.

“Participation in the SSEP is a great opportunity for our students. The experiment selected to be conducted at the International Space Station was designed by an all-girl team,” Dr. Elena Cascio, Garden City Science Curriculum Coordinator said. “We are very proud of their hard work and devotion to science!”

The chosen experiment, “How does microgravity affect the germination of a tomato seed?” will be part of the SSEP Mission 16 to the International Space Station. It is one of 23 projects from around the globe that was selected to board a SpaceX vehicle and be transported 250 miles above Earth’s surface.

“Bridget, Isabelle, Samantha and Elsie showed true dedication, curiosity and insight while working on the space program, and I am very proud that their experiment was selected for the space station,” Christine Lebenns, Teacher Facilitator and Community Program Director, said. “We all are looking forward to learn how the microgravity affects the germination of tomato seeds and compare the results with the ground experiment performed by all our seventh grade students.”

The program was offered to the entire seventh grade at Garden City Middle School. Students learned of the selected project during a visit to the Cradle Museum of Aviation, where seventh graders participated in a number of flight-related activities.

Throughout the rest of the year, the SSEP selected team will set up the space experiment to be performed by astronauts, while their classmates will work in teams to set up and perform the control experiment.

“It’s a true project-based learning that inspires students to love science and dream big.” Dr. Cascio said.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or just “SSEP”] is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education Internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with Nanoracks, LLC, which is working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

—Submitted by Garden City Public Schools

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