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Middle school students study bacterial growth in the classroom

on May 23, 2016

Middle School life science students recently made bacterial plates using petri dishes divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant was coated with agar, a seaweed product that is great for growing bacteria.

Students in Mr. Ronzoni's life science classes study bacterial growth around the classroom, on doorknobs and in the hallway using petri dishes.

Mr. Ronzoni’s life science classes studied bacterial growth using petri dishes.

Using Q-tips, students swabbed various places around the room, the hall, even the bottom of shoes and bags. They wiped the Q-tips onto each quadrant, leaving one un-swabbed to serve as a control. Students then sealed the petri dish and placed them into a closed heated box. After a few days, the students examined the sealed dishes to see what bacteria and molds had started to grow, and compared those quadrants to the “empty” control.

“I am happy to report that while the bottom of shoes did show bacteria, as would be expected, most surfaces (doorknobs, desks, etc) showed relatively few bacterial colonies,” said science teacher Richard Ronzoni.

Perhaps the best part of the experiment, according to Mr. Ronzoni, was the discussion afterwards. “Students have asked to use this process to conduct their own studies to determine how effective various ways of slowing or stopping bacterial growth can be. They’ve even come up with preliminary procedures to follow,” he said. “Hopefully we can accomplish this within a few weeks.”

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