Eight youths from Granby 4-H along with one leader, Rachael Manzer, successfully launched three experiments into space on a NASA rocket. The three experiments included “Bees in Space” that launched honeycombs, “Rubber Bands in Space,” and “Gallium in Space,” all of which were proposed by 4-Hers themselves. The opportunity was made possible through Cubes in Space™, a global competition designed to help students ages 11-18 launch experiments into space on a NASA rocket at no cost.
It took 4-Hers approximately four months to write experimental proposals based on their interests, long hours of research and thinking. These proposals were submitted electronically to Cubes in Space™ where experts reviewed all applications. After making it through the first round, 4-Hers answered questions, revised their proposals and resubmitted them for a second review. After months of waiting, final decisions were made. All three Granby 4-H proposals were selected as part of the 80 experiments selected from the 450 proposals submitted.
The “Bees in Space” experiment studied if honeycomb changes shape during flight. Club members took pieces of honey comb from the club beehive to design the experiment.
The “Rubber Bands in Space” group evaluated how rubber bands are affected
by a microgravity environment by creating a rubber band ball.
By placing a solid piece of Gallium in the cube with padding the “Gallium in Space” group studied if Gallium changes into a liquid state during space flight. [Gallium is a metal with the chemical symbol Ga that melts at body temperature and resolidifies when cooled.]
All participants in the 80 selected experiments were invited for the launch at NASA Wallops Center where they presented their experiments to an audience of 300 people.
Members gained valuable experiences while participating in the Cubes in Space™ project. They learned the importance of working together, how 4-H and STEM fit together, and learned the process of doing research. Members note that the experience provided them with the opportunity to practice problem solving skills, answer their own questions, embrace their curiosity and have experience in the world of STEM.
UConn 4-H is the youth development program of the UConn Extension in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. 4–H provides youth with the opportunity to develop lifelong skills including citizenship and healthy living. To find a 4-H club near you visit 4h.uconn.edu or call 860-486-4127.