Tomatoshere: Tomato Seed Investigation

Posted by Tonja Armstrong on January 03, 2020 at 8:33 PM

The Early Learners participated in the Tomatosphere™ program. "It has engaged more than three million students since its inception in 2001. Each year, over 15,000 Kindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms across Canada use Tomatosphere™ as a way to investigate the effects of space on food to support human space travel. The results from Tomatosphere™ help Canadian scientists understand some of the issues related to long-term space exploration. In the spring, participating classrooms receive two packages of tomato seeds. One package contains seeds sent into space or treated in space-simulated conditions. The other contains untreated "control" seeds. Students plant the seeds and conduct experiments to explore the effects of the space environment on the germination of tomatoes. Through Tomatosphere™, students learn how to conduct a scientific experiment and compare the number of seeds that germinate for the two groups of seeds." (

Here, A has successfully repotted some tomato plants that she will care for until they are sent home with her for the winter holidays.

September 16th...we start the fun and learning about living things through growing tomato plants.

We are getting ready to plant the packages of tomato seeds that we received. We have the "M" and "L" group of seeds. Naturally, the students predicted, and were convinced, that the "M" package of seeds went to the moon, and that the "L" package of seeds, stayed here on the earth (land).

Student S inquired about seeing the growth of the tomato seeds. With that, we all made predictions and graphed our answers. Here, after a weekend at home (and not looking to see if the seeds germinated yet), V surveyed her classmates to see if they thought the seeds grew over the weekend.

At snack time, the students observe the seedlings and give them a bit of water. They notice that one side is growing a bit more than the other, and that one side is drier than the other. The predictions keep being shared as the students care for the new living things.

October 2nd...

The seedlings are much stronger. Using magnifying glasses, the students observe the differences in leaves and notice that the stems are white and furry.

October 8th...the tomato seedlings are getting stronger every day. Here, A and S are noticing that the seedlings have moved towards one of the things that they need to grow: the sun, so we turned around the seedlings to help them grow a little straighter. 

October 21st...after giving the tomato seedlings some water, I notices that there is a smell of tomatoes in the air. Stopping to notice the smell, helped to support the students in using many of their senses when observing changes and growth in living things.

October 28th...moved from the direct sunlight, the students feel that the plants are almost ready to be potted in their individual spaces. The leaves are getting much bigger and the stems are needing some support.

November 13th, the students are ready to transplant the tomato plants in their individual pots. Here they are getting prepared with name stakes, rocks to help drainage, elastics to tie around the stakes and help hold up the leaves, and the pots that they chose to use. Let the repotting begin!

Here, A is deciding on what plants she wants and if she wants ones from the "M" or "L" side.

I is making a hole for her plants to go into.

V is carefully writing on her stake; her pot is ready to go.

H has successfully repotted her plants. She is labelling her stake.

Yeah! Feeling proud of their repotting success!

November 20th, with the exploration of living things, we also are caring for red wiggler worms who have made us some lovely soil. It has been about 2 months and the tomato plants need a bit more support. We are going to add some of the worm compost to each of the tomato plants to provide more of a stable home and give the plants some more nutrients. Here the students are observing the midges that are moving quickly as a result of the soil being disrupted.

A, H, and I are taking a closer look at the hard working worms.

December 3rd...we are going to further explore the tomato plants by using some mathematical skills: comparing, measuring, predicting, counting...along with some literacy skills to record our thoughts and findings.

Measuring, comparing, and recording using snap cubes and measuring tapes. Our tomato plants are healthy and happy (and so are the students). Hands-on learning, experimenting, and exploring across curriculum areas - the best way to gain knowledge and develop skills.


P.S. In case you were wondering, the students were right! The seeds that went to space were in the "M" package. And from what we observed, the "M" side grew slightly taller...concluding that going to space does not have too much of an impact on the growth of plants (in our humble scientific opinion).