Shooting for the Stars 

Skinner West Students to have science experiment performed on the Space Shuttle Atlantis

June 22, 2011


When the Space Shuttle Atlantis takes to flight for the final time in early July, the work of CPS students will be along for the ride.  That’s because two students from Mark Skinner Elementary School (Skinner West) had the winning proposal in the school wide science competition in partnership with the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP).


The winning proposal, “Will Microgravity Effect the Development of Goldfish?” was written by a team of 5th graders, Eren F. and Eric C.  It was one of 77 proposals that were judged by a panel of judges from around Chicago—including scientists from Fermilab, IIT and Adler Planetarium—in early May.  Eren and Eric’s experiment will send a fertilized goldfish egg into space and study the effects of microgravity on the growth of the embryo.  When Atlantis returns to Earth, the vial holding the subject will be returned to Skinner West so the students can study the results.


Thanks to a generous grant from Motorola, a donation of goldfish from PetSmart and the hard work from teachers like Kori Milroy, Skinner West was able to team up with SSEP who works with NASA to send student experiments into space.  Teachers and judges alike were impressed with all the proposals that the Skinner West students submitted showed much creativity and involved a wide range of scientific disciplines.


Milroy says that she can already see the positive impact on Skinner West students – even the young scientists whose experiments were not chosen.  A number of students have mentioned a new interest in studying science and engineering in college, and several students are now aspiring to careers as astronauts.


While the SSEP program might have been a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience, it inspired the next generation of space pioneers and let the students from Skinner West to reach for the stars.


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