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Thanks to the experience of Thomas Pesquet, 4,500 classrooms across France are interested in it

Thanks to the experience of Thomas Pesquet, 4,500 classrooms across France are interested in it

They are called “Blobino” or “SpongeBlob” or “Blob Marley” .. Thousands of blobs, these strange creatures formed from one cell, landed in schools to be the subject of an experiment, organized from space by Thomas Bisket.

More than 4,500 classes across France, from CE2 to Terminale, are in turmoil, and on top on D-Day: from Monday 11 October and for a week, they will embark on a uniquely guided experience. Space studies), which will consist of comparing the behavior of a point on Earth and zero gravity, at an altitude of 400 km.

Understand the point

As soon as they received “blot combs” at the beginning of the school year, the teachers began to multiply and, in response to the scientific name, “Physarum polycephalum”, which inhabits the bushes, magically discovered.

This creature, which appeared on Earth between 1 billion and 700 million years ago – long before the dinosaurs – consists of a single cell and several nuclei that can reproduce. Similar to the yellow spongy mass, it has no mouth, stomach, legs, or brain… however it eats (a lot), moves (slowly) and has amazing learning abilities.

The point can split at will, merge with others, and disappear as it becomes dehydrated, making it almost immortal.

small laboratories

It is in this dry state, hardening Those pieces were propelled from the point toward the International Space Station in August. In the process, thousands of clones of the same breed as their space congeners, in envelopes, landed in schools.

The ground layers gradually turned into small laboratories. It was first necessary to awaken the dry points with a few drops of water, and place them in Petri dishes, protected from light, on an agar bed until they developed.

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“It’s great! You have to take care of them, change the rent every two days, and feed them….”, admits to AFP Cecile Lefevre, SVT instructor at Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines College. His hardening grew at full speed: “I’m almost 20 now!” “, welcomes the teacher, who has set up an interdisciplinary project on point with her colleagues (Mathematics, Physics, English …).

The others got off to an annoying start. “Our first batch + turned moldy, because we didn’t change the agar enough,” says Alexandra da Paz, who teaches at Paul-Bert Primary School in Saint-Mandé (Val-de-Marne).

dot shake icons

This little adventure allowed him to explain to his students that the point, if almost immortal, “ was not invincible, remembers this schoolteacher, who has thrived since, with another solid kept in reserve.

Compared to the usual cultures of insects or snails, the unicellular organism rocks the codes so much that it can cause alarm. “Some people have sci-fi images in their heads, of something yellowish jumping in their faces”, says Emmanuelle Bohbot, a CM1/CM2 teacher in North Paris.

The name blob was given in reference to the 1958 horror film starring Steve McQueen, in which a strange, slimy creature invades Earth.

tasting

“I explained to my students that I don’t know him very much either, even though I’ve studied biology for five years. That’s what I find great about this project: we learn together!”, Emmanuel Bohbot confirms.

On the Facebook group “Elevate your blob”, more than 7000 gurus exchange tips about the multi-headed body, decorated with all kinds of nicknames (“Blob Marley”, “Blob Dylan”, “Bloby-Wan Kenobi …”): how to make agar (using agar-agar), feed him (oatmeal) … the teacher even posted a video of trying to taste the blobs – he quickly spat.

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“Can we put it in the compost?” “,” How do I remove fog from chests? “. The questions merge on the network, where the trainee research professors have their mentor: CNRS biologist Audrey Dussautur, whose work promoting the spread of polycephalum. The ethicist has become a real star among teachers and in their classes.

So much so that some students ended up finding the point More interesting than Thomas Bisquet’s missionEmmanuelle Bohbot jokes.