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Teacher wins contest, students part of International Space Station experiment

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    Linwood, Kansas (KMBC ) — Many kids have seen a rocket launch into space. Very few can say they have an experiment onboard.

That’s the case for students of Lisa Turney, a technology teacher at Linwood Elementary School in Linwood, Kansas.

“I don’t know if they quite understand how amazing this is,” Turney exclaimed.

Her virtual, ‘Bitmoji’ classroom on plant growth and bacteria won a national competition.

Now, she’s headed to the International Space Station. Sort of. Her ‘Bitmoji’ likeness is stuck to the experiment on which astronauts will be working.

“My little sticker! My little gal’s going to space,” Turney joked.

Back on Earth, Turney’s students — dubbed “co-investigators” — will grow the same plants and compare results.

“I’m trying to get that through. This is authentic. We have no idea what’s going to happen. It’s amazing,” Turney continued.

Scientists will use the data they collect to see if astronauts can grow food in space.

“If we can do it, then we might be able to have people on the moon for months and weeks,” noted Mary, a fifth-grader and student of Mrs. Turney.

The project isn’t just about plants. Turney hopes it will sprout a student’s love of science and take root for a lifetime.

“I want them to get a sense of how great science is, get more of an ‘I can do this’ type of a feeling, and actually go out into the word and do STEM stuff,” she explained.

The rocket carrying the experiment launched Saturday.

The experiment aboard the ISS is scheduled to start March 1.

Students in Linwood will have a direct feed, so they can watch and compare results in real-time.

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