Princeton Middle School students win international science competition

The students competed to find a way to grow things on the moon.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 7:08 PM EDT
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PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVVA) -Princeton Middle School participated in the “Plant the Moon” Challenge, a competition of students from around the globe. The goal? To find a way to grow plants on the moon in the hopes of feeding future explorers. Christina Lester, 6th-7th grade Science teacher at Princeton Middle School, says this was a great learning opportunity for her students.

“Many of the students that did this project had never done any type of growing even here on planet Earth. So, it was very important they got to learn about the process of photosynthesis, they got to learn about lunar phases and the landscape of the moon and different things, they got to learn basic agriculture, and also, they got to be part of a global science project,” says Lester.

The students are required to use a lunar regolith simulant to imitate the moon’s soil, but, after that, it’s up to them to find a way to bring life to a lifeless moon. Team Demeter at Princeton Middle School impressed the judges and won “best experimental design” on the international middle school level.

“...And it’s shocking because we didn’t think we were going to win at all because we didn’t understand how it worked and we came in very new,” says Eva Colemon, Princeton Middle School student and member of Team Demeter.

“Yeah, we just kind of did it to learn something from it and kind of for fun and so whenever we heard we won, we were shocked,” says Kaitlyn Artrip, another Team Demeter member.

It may have just been for fun, but they put a lot of thought into their award-winning design.

“We really just used very ingenuitive things that were kind of out of the box, like incorporating earthworms, using LED lights, and not only just using that but also incorporating the original sort of conventional gardening that you see every day so it would be a mixture of things that we already knew how to do and also new things that other people were not trying,” says Colemon.

The students gave some advice to those who want to replicate their success: plan for everything and never give up.

Lester says this was the first her students participated in this contest, but she hopes they’ll do it again in future years as well.