Texarkana ISD Student Research Project Selected for Microgravity Experiment at the International Space Station

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A microgravity experiment developed by a group of Texarkana ISD seventh graders is heading to the International Space Station in late Spring/Summer 2023, following a rigorous selection process through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP).

This fall, all fifth-grade students at Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School, and all sixth, seventh and eighth-grade Texas Middle School students enrolled in Science Honors spent six weeks learning about microgravity experimental design and developed more than 140 proposals that competed for inclusion in the SSEP Mission 17 to the International Space Station. TISD then submitted the top three projects to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education(NCESSE) for consideration by the SSEP Mission 17 Step 2 Review Board.

“Do Tardigrades Develop Properly in Microgravity,” the experiment created by TISD seventh graders Nirav Neupane, Kevontae Espada, & Max Gaylor, supervised by Mrs. Sarah Gustafson, is now bound for the International Space Station in 2023.

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Fifth-grade teams supervised by Dr. Jordan Guillory created the other Step 1 Finalist experiments. Sam McGinnis, Sheena Lee, and Temityo Ogunkolade designed “Alum Crystals in Microgravity.” Isabella Adriana Goodman-Baston, Noah Womack, MJ Brubaker, Cooper Reardon, and Nathan Stokes proposed “How Does Microgravity Affect the Growth of Wakame Algae?”

“We are extremely proud of all our student researchers in TISD, as they have shown a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication during the last few weeks,” said LaKesha Taylor, Director of TISD CTE and STEM Education. “We are thrilled to have our seventh graders represent our district at the national and global level.”

Texarkana ISD is one of 37 participating communities in three countries (USA, Canada and Ukraine) participating in this year’s SSEP. The program allows students to design and propose actual microgravity experiments conducted aboard the International Space Station.
Following this week’s announcement, and under SSEP guidelines, the TISD students will continue to refine and optimize their experiment’s design to be cleared for the mission.

About the SSEP:
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 Nanoracks LLC, which is working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

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