Young girls now have a new way to connect with science onboard the International Space Station (ISS). A new video series called SciGirls® in Space, part of the popular Twin City PBS SciGirls® program, highlights four girls who have conducted science experiments onboard the ISS National Lab.
The videos provide an opportunity for young girls to see other real-life girls pursuing their passion for science and doing real research on the ISS National Lab. Relatable role models such as these could help inspire young girls to get more involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities.
In the SciGirls in Space videos, the four girls share what sparked their interest in science and talk about their experiences designing experiments for the ISS National Lab, highlighting both the exciting aspects as well as the challenges of doing space science. One of the girls, Abby, and her teammates from a school near Denver, Colorado, designed an experiment looking at how microgravity affects bacteria. The remaining three girls—Abby Sophía, Julia, and Sarah—from a school in Houston, Texas, designed an experiment evaluating how different ratios of blue and red light affect plant growth in a microgravity environment.
Although the girls’ experiments were initially lost in the two commercial resupply services launch anomalies (Orbital Sciences CRS-3 and SpaceX CRS-7), the projects did successfully launch to the ISS National Lab on later missions. Such anomalies are rare, and no other U.S. cargo vehicles have been lost since these two. In 2018, around 100 student projects were successfully launched to the ISS National Lab, engaging students in valuable STEM education involving authentic science and project-based learning.
The SciGirls television show, website, and educational outreach program is the most widely accessed girls’ STEM program in the U.S., reaching more than 14 million girls, educators, and families. The SciGirls in Space videos, which are accompanied by standards-based science activities, will be available on multiple PBS online platforms, including PBS Kids, SciGirls CONNECT educator’s website, and PBS Learning Media.
Twin City PBS is also implementing related educational outreach at five community learning centers across the U.S.: The McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning in Massachusetts; The Challenger Center of Ramapo in New York; The Challenger Center in Heartland Community College in Illinois; the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium in North Dakota, and Girls Inc. of San Antonio in Texas.
SciGirls in Space is a Space Station Explorers partner program supported by the ISS National Lab. Visit www.spacestationexplorers.org to learn more about the Space Station Explorers consortium, a growing community of ISS National Lab partner organizations working to leverage the unique platform of the ISS to provide valuable educational experiences. View the SciGirls in Space videos below!