Tropisms – how do plants grow in space?


In this short activity, you’ll use published research into plant behaviour, conducted on the International Space Station, to get your students thinking more about tropisms.

The scientists made time-lapse videos of the germinating seedlings on Earth and in space, and these have been uploaded onto YouTube for use by the public. Your students can look at the differences between gravitropic and phototropic growth of of the seedlings, and consider the differences between the space-grown and Earth-grown plants.

The videos are available online.

The research paper is available online, at Paul et al, ‘Plant growth strategies are remodelled by spaceflight.’ BMC Plant Biology 2012 12:232 (

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