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Space team members at Limona Elementary ready to send their experiment out of this world

February 27, 2018 - Student Success


On August 15th, although the Limona Elementary Space team has moved up to middle school, they all gathered to compare the growth of wheat seeds that went to up into space with the SpaceX dragon with the seeds they grew on earth. 

Led by Mrs. Kemp, students observed the seeds along with parents, district leaders, principal, Marlou Bates and Assistant Principal, Donald Link.  Mike McCollum from Hillsborough Education Foundation and Cindy Helton, from Suncoast Credit Union was also in attendance, Suncoast Credit Union was the major funding source for the program. 

Students observed that the seeds on Earth had no growth. The seeds they went into space swelled and mold growth was found on four seeds. Students concluded that their hypothesis was incorrect. In their trials the seeds on Earth germinated with stems and root growth. Students think the summer heat played a factor in the lack of growth of the seeds on Earth this time around. Students also believe the seeds sent in the rocket did not receive enough air, they plan to research the Falcon rocket and levels of air. 


NEWSDESK UPDATE: On Friday, June 29, 2018, the private spaceflight company SpaceX successfully launched a used Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station on a Falcon 9 CRS-15 rocket.  More than half of the cargo of supplies on board to be delivered to the Space Station (3,874 pounds or 1,757 kilograms) was dedicated to science, including the Limona Elementary School team’s project, which will study what the effect of microgravity is on the germination of wheat seeds.

Some of the Limona team members were at the very early morning launch, along with teachers, district personnel, and lots of interested folks. To see some exciting photos of the launch, visit at, and enjoy the Flickr album below.



Original Story:

Every Friday after school at Limona Elementary, Mrs. Kemp’s classroom is transformed into a science lab. That is where you will find several little scientists eagerly testing their hypothesis. They call themselves the Space Team, and they have been selected by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, to have their experiment tested in space.

The experiment? Testing the growth of wheat in space.

Their hypothesis? They believe the seeds will germinate in micro-gravity, but the roots will probably be in a tangle because they will be confused about which way is up and which way is down.

“This is a very competitive process, and the students are excited that their experiment has been selected to go to the international space station,” said Jane Kemp, fifth grade math and science teacher at Limona Elementary. 

Each Friday, during club time, the little scientists meet to practice proper protocol, prepare their science tubes for space, and the students are fortunate to be mentored by an actual scientist. Each week, Dr. Joniqua Howard calls in via Skype to speak with the Space Team to make sure they are following proper protocol, as well as, understand the procedures of their experiment.  

Once the seeds are prepared for their journey, the students will be invited to watch as the seeds launch into space. The students will receive the experiment and they will do the analysis of the data. That data will then be shared with scientists currently working on spaceflight issues.  

In the end, the students hope their data will be instrumental in how astronauts are fed during the long journey into space.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program is headed by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and is funded locally by a generous contribution from Suncoast Credit Union and the Space Florida Foundation. Each elementary and middle school in Hillsborough County has the opportunity to participate in this  annual competition. The Tampa Bay STEM Network is proud to support community partnerships such as this.  

We look forward to the countdown to launch, currently scheduled for June 9, 2018 and can’t wait to hear the research results!

To learn more about Limona Elementary visit:

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