Your students can be part of NASA’s efforts to build a human presence on the Moon by joining a global science challenge to find out what crops grow best in lunar regolith simulant. The Plant the Moon Challenge is aligned with Artemis, NASA’s mission to return to the Moon
The NASA Space Grant project expands the Plant the Moon Challenge (PTMC) developed by the Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS) by offering teachers free lunar regolith kits (valued at $420 ea.), team coach stipends, teacher professional development, and state-level student team awards.
Participating educators receive a PTMC activity kit for each team of about ten students. The kit includes lunar regolith simulant, a Project Guide, a pH meter, 10 N95 masks, and a $100 materials stipend. Student groups work together to design their plant growth experiments using the simulant. Experiment variables may include the plant growth setup structure, amount of water used, and nutrients added to the regolith simulant. With guidance from their teacher/coaches, student teams use the Project Guide to design their plant growth experiments.
Project Timeline: Applications are due October 10, 2023. Announcements of school selections will be made by October 27, 2023. The plant growth period is eight weeks from Feb 5 – Mar 31, 2024. Project reports are due April 14, 2024. Announcement of winners will be in early May 2024.
Eligibility: Participants can be schools or organizations that work with middle or high school students. A key goal for the NASA Space Grant Plant the Moon Challenge project is to engage more underrepresented and underserved middle and high school students in the challenge.
WV Awards: In spring 2023, eight middle and high school teams from Ohio, Marion, and Mercer counties won state-level awards that includes funding for field trips for the winning teams. Two schools in Mercer county won international awards and global recognition for their student research projects.
Applications are due by October 10, 2023. Teachers and STEM educators serving middle school students can apply at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HZSDSWM
For more information about the West Virginia Space Grant Enhanced Plant the Moon Challenge contact Dr. Laurie Ruberg, CEO, PLANTS, LLC, the state coordinator for the project at LFRuberg at gmail.com.