Over the last two weeks our class has slightly altered our project and revisiting some key iedas behind our experiment. We have decided to study yeast cells as we learned they are studied by other researchers as a means to try and understand human cells and their responses in a microgravity environment. We plan to test multiple yeast cells with a special agar to allow for slower growth on the ISS. We will also collect data on temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide to compare to our test experiment conducted simultaneously on Earth. This week we are focusing on the design and use of sensors in our ardulab.
We finalized our final three designs. After beginning of this portion of the process, we realized it would have been helpful to do inital research on the size of the sensors and the plates we would use. We found the plates to be the most important piece of the puzzle in terms of size and shape. Our class is unsure of the plates to use for growth because of this reason. We will be looking at different plates over the next week or two. We narrowed down the sensors we plan to use and determined the purpose for each sensor in the ardulab. We have some ideas for the design that can be changed/manipulated as the experiment and engineering phase commence. We plan to begin testing yeast strains in the classroom within the next several days.
This week we created lists of pros and cons for our multiple designs. We also researched costs and size of each sensor we might consider using in our final experiment. We searched the SparkFun website using our iPads in class. We discussed the design matrix and its use as a tool to try and narrow down our design to one. Students were very excited this week to find a camera that has LED lights with it, built-in. They believe this will ensure the lighting for images will be good. Also, while our design matrix determined that our first design would be the best, the class was still considering using the segmented plate in the ardulab. In the upcoming week, we will bring our final designs together, create a new sketch, look at costs and what sensors to order. In addition, our yeast will arrive and we will begin testing different strains in the class.
Mrs. Smith's 5th grade has had a busy week! We have ordered all of our sensors and yeast to begin work on testing next week. We finalized our specific groups enabling each student to participate in a specific component of the project that interested him/her. In addition, we updated our block chart with materials, including information as to the name of the sensors, and the purpose or funtion. Finally, we worked through the story board for our experiment. It took a little time to realize that timing (exact time of day) was not important to our experiment. Once we crossed that hurdle, it was exciting to see how well the class walked through the process of how the experiment would run...and then repeat! Next week we plan to meet with new mentors from Texas A&M to help our budding engineers and software developers.
Colton and Austin were a great help to the students. We were able to present our project to them (sharing our sketches and sensors to be used.) They will be working on an insert that will have each of our sensors on it. This will enable easy "in an out" access when working with sensors inside the ardulab. They discussed how to set up the hardware for the lights and the camera they brought us from adafruit. Good news is they do have some code we can look at as well. They suggested before we look at code, we get the hardware put together first. They were going to look at what might be needed for the temp/humisity sensor and we are still trying to figure which CO2 sensor to use. The one we have found might be too big. I hate the abandon this sensor (specifically as the students truly were the ones who came up with the idea to use it as a way to know the yeast is growing even if we have issues with the camera). We will continue to look into this part. Next week we are meeting with the lab tech from the Middle School. Our yeast specialist group will be pouring agar plates and on Wednesday we will begin growing yeast (to be sent home with students and myself over the break). 'Tis the season to be busy , busy , busy!!!! I have uploaded the final storyboard and the image of the ardulab board on my documents page.
This week Mrs. Smith's class focused on our yeast! Using the three different agars provided to our class by Dr. Brian Stephens at the Univeristy of Houston Clear Lake, and three different strains of yeast, we created our test plates for the experiment. A very special thank you to Anna Harper, our Middle School lab technician. She worked with our yeast specialist group for two mornings, teaching the students how to properly pour agar plates and sterile technique for streaking our "yeastie beasties"! Over the break, we will watch the colonies populate. We are looking to see which are growing the fastest, and which are growing the slowest. We want to find a growth media that will provide us with a slower growth rate as we have 30 days in space. We also ordered two additional cameras from Adafruit that will arrive over the holiday break! Still working on that CO2 sensor... Happy holidays from our class!!!
This week was great! Students had a chance to look at the growth of the yeast and we determined the agar type (YPD - provided by Dr. Stephens) that we will use for growth. We learned also that while some mold may grow, as long as there is yeast that is not touching the mold, our cells will still have the viability to be studied upon return to Earth. Mrs. Smith is working on gathering information and finishing the TEDP this month as well. By February we will be ready with that very important document! Hillarie Davis visited our class and was able to get a first hand look at the exceptional work our class has done so far. The ability to gather information and ask the right questions is a skill we are becoming very good at! In addition, she could see how our students are facing this great challenge...with excitement and confidence! The science portion is well underway and we began testing our LEDs this week. While we struggled with getting them to light, we will continue to work on the engineering and testing involved with the experiment. Mrs. Smith will be traveling to Texas A & M next week to get a first hand look at the hardware and software we will be using. This knowledge will be brough back and shared with the students! The MSDS page, the toxicology form, the ISF form, the cold stowage document, and the updated TEDP have been uploaded to the documents page.
Our class has been working on CASIS this week and have accomplished a great deal. We have streaked new plates with our agar, we have emailed research questions to Dr. Stephens, and we are currently working on the schematics for the wiring of our ardulab. Mrs. Smith travelled to A&M to work with our mentors and we are currently trying to understand what each wire does when we connect it. When we return from break we will begin testing each sensor individually and then compiling code. We are waiting to get our other ardu board so we can also get our ground experiment ready to run. Our Community Outreach group also created a newsletter (found under our documents section) that was published on our school website! We are making waves!!!
WOW! What an amazing year...and we still have a little further to go. We have had the great opportunity to meet and visit with Mr. Greg Johnson, an astronaut! He gave our class a mission patch from ARK 1 for CASIS. This is the mission that our class is part of, launching in October. In addition, our shirts arrived! #Follow_Me_To_The_Stars! We really do LOVE yeast and don't even mind the smell anymore! Finally, we have been featured on Channel 13 with our own Gina Gaston! Check us out at http://abc13.co/1k3iCFx. In the last few weeks we will be finishing our videos, filling out our surveys, and deciding upon which agar to send up. We wanted to test a new camera lens, but might have to leave that for Mrs. Smith over the summer!