This is a great science experiment that will hold your students interest. It is simple enough, only six steps that students as young as the third grade will be able to understand and follow. One way to encourage team work is to divide the class into teams. Two or three member teams work best. If you plan to have students try more experiments in the future, it will be a good idea to make the teams permanent. For the next experiment, you will not have to take the time to put the class into teams. You can explain to students that in higher grades they will work on many projects with others. This will get students use to the idea of working with others for a common good.
Parent’s can also try this experiment at home with their children. It is perfect for those moments when your children start to yell there is nothing to do and they are bored. Another idea is to encourage your child to ask his/her teacher if this experiment could be used for extra credit. Your child could complete the experiment at home and present the findings to his/her class. Teachers just love to see children who take the imitative and volunteer for work. Below you will find the steps to complete this science experiment.
Introduction to Project. Most children have probably picked up a loaf of bread to make a sandwich or toast only to find mold has set in. Ask for a show of hands to find out how many students have actually experienced this. Next, ask students what they do with the molded food?
Explain that molds do not grow from seeds. Actually, they grow where a spore (dust like specks) land on something it can digest. The spore then breaks open and starts to grow. This experiment will show students what happens when mold spores land on three slices of bread, with each piece prepared in a different way.
Supplies: Container, plastic wrap, disinfectant, pitcher of water and three slices of bread
Step 1. Student should take two slices of bread and put them into the container. Explain that the third slice of bread has to stay out so that it will dry.
Step 2. Tell students that they should try to not let the slices of bread touch; pour a small amount of disinfectant onto one of the slices. Students must be careful and not get any of the disinfectant on the other slices of bread.
Step 3. Now, students will need to pour enough water on both of the slices to get them damp. It is important that students to not soak the bread with water. Tell them that if they do their bread will be soaked and fall apart. It might be a good idea to give them a spoon to use. It will slow up the process a bit, but so will soaked bread. Students need to be careful and not let water build up in the base of the container.
Step 4. Next, students will need to seal the container using plastic wrap. This will shut in any spores and keep the bread damp. Tell students that they will need to store all three slices of bread in a place that is dark and warm. Explain to students that the bread now has to set for three days.
Step 5. On the fourth day, have students examine their work. Students should now see signs of mold. Students should observe that the dry breads and the disinfected bread have no mold.
Step 6. Have each student submit a brief written report on their findings. Have students include a couple sentences at the end of their report on how well their team worked together. If the team had problems they should explain what their issues were and how they can avoid these same issues in future projects.
Experiments generally tend to go awry if not handled with care and caution and if it involves science, one must be more than adept in the field to make things go right. The patience and perseverance required for taking up science projects cannot be gained through psle tuition but has to be an inborn talent.