January 19, 2017

Space Program Finalist Selected

An announcement from Phu Tranchi, Director of Experiential Learning:

From September 6 through November 16, Oakwood students in grades 5-12 engaged in the national Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, competing for Oakwood’s one spot on board a mission to the International Space Station this summer.  Over 80 original spaceflight experiment proposals were submitted, and from these submissions, three finalists were selected by a review panel. The experimental questions from the top three proposals and their authors were:

“How do lima beans grow in microgravity?” Kaipo and Gabrielle

“How does the absence of gravity affect root hair growth in a hydroponic medium?” Finn, Koa, and Noah

“Does Lysol affect E.Coli differently in microgravity?” Sophia and Miller

After their selection, all of these finalists had to hustle to revise their proposals based on feedback from the national review panel. We’ve been waiting for their results, and we are now thrilled to announce the final experiment that has been selected to represent Oakwood in orbit in the summer of 2017 and boldly go where no Gorilla has gone before. Congratulations to…


Phu Tranchi announces finalists of the Oakwood Space Program
Phu Tranchi announces finalists of the Oakwood Space Program at town meeting.

the hydroponics experiment group, Finn, Koa, and Noah!

I’d like to also acknowledge all students who participated in this authentic pursuit of scientific understanding. In addition, the space program would never have gotten off the ground without the tremendous efforts of the Oakwood science teachers, including Andrew Lappin, Earl Hunter, and Diana Sussman at the elementary school. In particular, I want to specifically thank the middle school science department for taking this project on and putting it at the forefront of curriculum, and especially Kari Bosworth, who really spearheaded things on the ground here.

You all did remarkable work! Now, let’s get behind our representative experiment and track its trajectory from now until launch day. Congratulations Oakwood!

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or 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 DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre- college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.