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Two students working on the photosynthesis workshop, one is looking at large green leaves and the other is writing on a clipboard

School Workshop: Photosynthesis – life support

How many plants do you need to keep you alive?

Students apply their knowledge of photosynthesis and respiration in order to problem solve and advise a stranded astronaut over 50 million kilometres away. The clock is ticking...

Workshop overview

What happens in the workshop

Your students receive a distress signal from a stranded astronaut (below) over 50 million km away on Mars. Working as Mars Mission Trouble Shooters your students have one task – to keep the astronaut alive. Life support systems on Mars are down and the majority of the base is in ruins with the exception of an Eden style biome containing 20 banana plants and an escape shuttle over 10km away from the main base. Should the astronaut remain in the in the biome with the banana plants or make a run for the shuttle? Would the plants provide enough oxygen? Would the astronaut even make it to the shuttle?

The students go on a mission into Eden’s Outdoor Garden and Rainforest Biome to collect data about banana plants, photosynthesis, respiration, energy use, and the calorie content of foods.

Back in the classroom the students use the data they have collected, together with secondary data, to make the necessary calculations and advise the stranded astronaut on the best course of action.

A message from Mars

A visiting teacher

Visiting teacher

“It was a perfect opportunity for our students to learn outside the classroom.”

Practical information

Accredited workshops at Eden

This workshop is accredited under the British Science Association’s CREST Awards scheme and goes towards a Discovery Award.

In order to gain the award it is also necessary for the students to have completed some of the suggested pre and post visit activities provided upon booking.


The Crest Awards logo

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