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They're Everywhere: Bacteria

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

Session 1: Setting Up

In this activity, students will observe bacteria and compare relative amounts of bacteria living in different parts of the classroom or the school. Overall, students will discover that bacteria grow in many locations.

Have each student group select two places of the classroom or school that they would like to test for the presence of bacteria. Possibilities include the floor, doorknob, unwashed hands, rinsed hands, hands washed with soap and water, etc. 

Have each group list the places it plans to test and write a prediction of what it expects to find in those locations. For example, a group might predict that a sample from unwashed hands will have more bacteria than a sample from washed hands. 

Give each group three petri dishes. Two dishes will be used for studying bacterial samples; these should be labeled with the locations from which the samples will be collected. The third dish will be a control, and should be labeled as such. 


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932