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Professional Development Articles

Space: Action projects

Oct 18, 2018 jjamison

Citizen Science In Your Classroom And Community.

Let's Talk Science offers a variety of citizen science and data collection projects. Our action projects allow students and teachers to experience the thrill of discovery with real-world science projects that have no "right or wrong" answer, no prescribed outcome, and contribute to a national database for further use in the scientific community. Here we have three projects aimed at engaging students in real life science connected to Space! Educator resources are available to support the delivery of these projects in the classroom.

Living Space

How do you think your Living Space on Earth compares to that of the International Space Station? Let's Talk Science has partnered with the Canadian Space Agency to help students explore how environmental conditions such as carbon dioxide, humidity and temperature influence human health.

Project Overview

How does your Living Space compare to the International Space Station?

As we look forward to expanding space exploration into long-term, long-distance space travel, we need to understand how environmental factors impact human health and well-being. Let’s Talk Science has developed an exciting new Action Project in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency and the CanCode program to give teachers and students an opportunity to monitor their “living space” and integrate science and coding in a unique and engaging way in their classroom. During the upcoming mission of Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, David will be experiencing first-hand the environmental conditions of the International Space Station (ISS) and reporting them back to earth for participating classrooms to compare their results to!

Participating students and educators will:

  • Study key environmental conditions that are carefully monitored and adjusted on the ISS;
  • Investigate environmental conditions, such as temperature, light, humidity, and air quality, in their classroom, and how these relate to health and well-being;
  • Collect and analyse data using programmed sensors and compare it with information from other participating classrooms as well as other locations – even the ISS during David Saint-Jacques' mission;
  • Develop analytical thinking and digital and coding skills!

For a more in-depth overview of the project, including suggested timing: Living Space – Instructional Design at a glance (PDF)

For curriculum alignment by province: Curriculum connections to the Living Space action project

RaDI-N2 & You

One of the biggest concerns for keeping humans safe in space is managing and understanding the effects of increased exposure to potentially dangerous neutron radiation. At the core of this project, students will learn how to measure the radiation they are exposed to on Earth and compare it with the radiation recorded by Canadian astronauts on the International Space Station using the same innovative technology.

Project Overview

How does neutron radiation affect people on Earth and on the International Space Station?

As astronauts plan to go beyond Earth orbit to the Moon, to Mars, or an asteroid, they will be exposed to dangerous amounts of cosmic radiation. Until we can protect astronauts from radiation, we cannot send astronauts into deep space safely. Canadian scientists and astronauts are doing research to better understand the impact of that radiation on astronaut health.

One of the experiments that CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques will be responsible for during ISS Expedition 58/59 is RaDI-N2, which will measure astronauts' exposure to potentially dangerous neutron radiation in preparation for manned deep-space missions. He will be continuing research done on the ISS by CSA astronauts Robert Thirsk and Chris Hadfield, using bubble detectors manufactured by Bubble Technology Industries, based in Chalk River, Ontario, to measure neutron radiation on board the ISS.

Let’s Talk Science is excited to be able to offer this exciting Action Project in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. RADI-N2 & You gives educators and students an opportunity to monitor neutron radiation levels in their classroom and compare their results to those of other classrooms across Canada and also with David Saint-Jacques on board the International Space Station, who will be sharing the data he gathers with the participating classrooms.

Participating students and educators will:

  • Study neutron radiation, its presence in our environment, and its effects on the human body;
  • Investigate the sources of neutron radiation, how it interacts with matter, and its potential impact on human space travel;
  • Collect and analyze data using a bubble detector provided by Let’s Talk Science and compare it with information from other participating classrooms as well as from the ISS during David Saint-Jacques' mission;
  • Develop critical thinking and data analysis skills!


Tomatosphere™ uses the excitement of space exploration to teach the skills and processes of scientific experimentation and inquiry to students at every grade level. Participants compare the germination rate of two sets of tomato seeds - one set which has traveled to the International Space Station or been exposed to space-like conditions, and the second control set, which stayed on earth.

The award-winning Tomatosphere™ program has engaged more than three million students since its inception in 2001. Each year, over 15,000 Kindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms across Canada use Tomatosphere™ as a way to investigate the effects of space on food to support human space travel. The results from Tomatosphere™ help Canadian scientists understand some of the issues related to long-term space exploration.

In the spring, participating classrooms receive two packages of tomato seeds. One package contains seeds sent into space or treated in space-simulated conditions. The other contains untreated "control" seeds. Students plant the seeds and conduct experiments to explore the effects of the space environment on the germination of tomatoes. Through Tomatosphere™, students learn how to conduct a scientific experiment and compare the number of seeds that germinate for the two groups of seeds.

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