Problem Solvers

Get Growing On Mars

Get Growing On Mars

Get your class thinking about what a seed needs to grow as they design and make a Martian ‘grow pod’.

Activity overview

30 mins+
Ages 5 – 7

Science topics:

Materials , Plants

Sometimes you have to solve a problem on the spot. Explain that today the class will need to make a place where a seed might grow using just the materials provided. Discuss what pupils think they might learn from doing this.

Run the activity

1. Explain that if ever people want to live on Mars, they will need to find a way to grow their own food. Challenge children to think about what conditions are like on Mars and what they know a seed needs, before using recycled materials to create a place where a seed could germinate and grow in a place like Mars.

2. After 20 minutes, swap creations with another group. Continue working but this time on their creation. How can you improve it?

3. After 10 more minutes, survey the final creations. What have they learned from swapping projects? 

Background science

Early in 2019, a cotton seed was successfully germinated on the moon. However, it did not live very long because during the lunar night, which lasts for approximately 13.5 days, the temperature plummeted and it was too cold for the seedling to survive. If humans were to ever colonise Mars, they would need to be able to grow crops in order to survive. However, the extreme cold, low atmospheric pressure and high radiation environment would mean that the plants would need to be grown in a heated transparent enclosure if they were to grow to maturity and provide crops.

 

The 2022 ExoMars mission is looking for signs of life on Mars. We've got lots of activities to support your own Mars exploration. Read more on our blog! 

Take it further

Give children some seeds so that they can test out their ‘grow pods’ here on Earth. As they evaluate their success (or failure), encourage them to think what it was about the properties of the materials that they chose which made their pods effective – or not!

See the Royal Horticultural Society's website as well as Science and Plants for Schools for advice and tips on how to start growing seeds. Take a look at STEM Learning’s Rocket Seeds activity.

Image credit: Florian Pircher via Pixabay