School pupils in Shrewsbury become rocket scientists

Children at a Shrewsbury prep school are becoming space biologists and embarking on a voyage of discovery by growing seeds that have been into space.

In September 2015, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S where they spent several months in microgravity before returning to Earth last month.

The seeds were sent to Prestfelde School as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.

Children in Year 1 and 2 at Prestfelde School are among pupils from around 10,000 schools nationwide to have received a packet of 100 seeds from space, which they are growing alongside 100 seeds from a packet that haven’t been to space.

They are measuring the differences over seven weeks and won’t know which packet contains which seeds until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

Miss Sophie Richards, a Year 2 teacher at the Shrewsbury prep school, said: “The children at Prestfelde are very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science.

“This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching pupils to think more scientifically and share their findings.

“The children have loved planting the seeds and have made predictions about which packet they think contains the space seeds.

“They race in every morning to see if they can spot any seeds that have germinated.”

Rocket Science is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.

Follow the project on Twitter: @RHSSchools #RocketScience

For more information about Prestfelde School, a co-educational preparatory school in Shrewsbury, visit the website at or call 01743 245400.