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Microbes Are Everywhere

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, Deanne B. Erdmann, MS, Sonia Rahmati Clayton, PhD, and James P. Denk, MA

Materials for Each Group of Students

When setting up for this activity, prepare enough 100-mm Petri dishes with nutrient agar to provide 5 dishes to each student group. Also, have a supply of 10% chlorine bleach solution (10 mL chlorine bleach mixed with 90 mL water) on hand to disinfect any spills, any disposables that come in contact with the microbes, and microbe growth on the nutrient agar dishes. 

Have students work in groups of four.

Materials per Student Group

  • 4 sterile cotton swabs in a resealable plastic bag
  • 5 prepared Petri dishes (one dish will serve as the control)
  • Clean, empty Petri lid or dish (for use as a drawing template)
  • Container of distilled or boiled water
  • Magnifiers or low-power microscopes
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker or wax pencil
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • 12 sheets of white paper for observations (3 sheets per student)
  • Graph paper
  • Paper towels
  • Hot pads or pot holders
  • Group concept map (ongoing)

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605