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Fungus Among Us

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.


You will need a transparency or PowerPoint® slide of the "Common Bread Mold" worksheet.

Materials for each student group

  • One or two Pipettes or droppers
  • Microscope (If you only have 1 or 2 microscopes, set up a microscope station to be used by all groups.)

Materials per student

  • Piece of old bread (See Teacher Set-up)
  • Clear re-sealable plastic bag (4 x 6 in), or a small jar or plastic container
  • Hand lens (magnifier)
  • Disposable plastic gloves (optional)
  • Copies of the student sheet


A day or two before you plan to begin this activity, ask each student or group of students to bring a piece of bread to class (bakery-type or “natural” bread containing no preservatives works best). As an alternative, you can bake bread or biscuits or have students bake bread at home with parental supervision. Recipes are included in a PDF at, under Classroom Lessons. If you do not wish to grow bread mold in the classroom, pure cultures can be purchased from scientific supply companies.

NOTE: While the common molds that grow on bread are generally harmless, some students may be allergic to the spores that are produced. Therefore, have your students observe the molds without opening the sealable bags or other containers in which they have been grown. Wear disposable plastic gloves if you plan to handle mold samples for demonstration purposes. Pour diluted chlorine bleach (10%) into the bags containing mold samples before disposing of the bags. 

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education