Apply for the NASA Space Grant Plant the Moon Challenge
West Virginia Teachers - Complete Application by 11:59 pm, Oct 10, 2023
Your students can be part of NASA’s efforts to build a long term human presence on the Moon by joining a teacher-led student global science experiment and inspirational project-based learning challenge to see who can grow the best crops using lunar regolith simulant. The Plant the Moon Challenge is aligned with Artemis, NASA’s mission to return to the Moon.
About the program: 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. Teacher-advised teams use the Project Guide to design their plant growth experiments.
Timeline: The grow period is eight weeks from Feb 5 - Mar 31, 2024. From Jan 22 – Apr 12, 2024, teams are engaged in weekly activities and virtual events that supplement their hands-on project activities with STEM activities that connect them with NASA Artemis-related content.
Eligibility: Participants can be schools or organizations that work with middle or high school students. Informal organizations such as 4H and Girl or Boy Scout troops may apply. The project has broad appeal to science, biology, botany, earth science, and agricultural and other related disciplines. 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.
Professional Development: Five virtual professional development sessions will be offered for participating educators between November and April. In addition to the educator sessions, Plant The Moon staff and state Space Grant coordinators will be in communicate with the educators throughout the project and will be available to assist and answer questions. Educators will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the Challenge that will include a statement of PD hours for recertification purposes.
Experiential Prizes for Winning Teams: Up to eight state team winners will receive an award to fund a STEM-related field trip for the winning team and their coach. A best overall middle and high school team from each state will compete in a regional selection for the top regional prize. The regional prize for the winning students and their teachers at the middle and high school levels will be an expense-covered trip to Kennedy Space Center for the Visitor Center Complex experience, including a bus tour to the Saturn V Complex. While at KSC, the top winning teams will do a presentation on their projects at a ceremony which will include NASA specialists.
Application Opens: September 8, 2023
Application Closes: October 10, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. ET