SeedSpinner: Simulating microG with littleBits and FastPlants
Published on April 23, 2014
littleBits in the elementary science lab facilitates a STEAM process that enables students to easily design, build and engineer prototypes of lab apparatus that would otherwise be inaccessible. The following project is an illustration of how littleBits can be used to support serious scientific inquiry.
Authentic scientific exploration often relies on engineering apparatus to facilitate obtaining the data that supports or contradicts a hypothesis.
ENGINEERING CHALLENGE: How can littleBits be combined with other materials to build an apparatus and prove that the direction in which a seedling's roots grow is affected by gravity?
OBJECTIVE: Students will engineer a littleBits lab apparatus to negate the effect of gravity on plant seedlings.
PROJECT: The design shown here is our solution to this challenge. For full lesson instruction, see http://littlebits.cc/lessons/seedspinner-simulating-microg-with-littlebits-and-fastplants-lesson
Guiding Question for Students: How can we prove that the direction in which a seedling's roots grow is affected by gravity?
What is Microgravity? Microgravity (microG) is a state in which the effects of gravity have been cancelled out; this state is sometimes referred to as zeroG, however, this is a misnomer. Microgravity is experienced by astronauts as they orbit the earth in the International Space Station. Microgravity is perceived by a sense of weightlessness, which is created by "free-fall."
To learn more about microgravity, check out the following links:
Note: FastPlants are a special hybrid of Brassica rapa - the same species that fill our dinner plates as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and many others (FastPlants are distributed by Carolina Biological).