Hands-on activity, with fungus, protist, etc.
Date: Around 1993
Can you suggest hands-on activities at the 5th grade level
dealing with fungus, protist, or monerans?
I do not know much about this. I enjoyed looking at Volvox, a
colonial protoctist alga that is common in pond water (at least in the
summer). I will bet you can buy it from a biology supply company. A
microscope is almost a necessity for enjoying these creatures, though. I also
liked looking at Pseudomonas, a bacterium which, among other things, helps
lettuce rot. You would need at least 200x magnification for them. A very
simple activity would be to purchase mushrooms from the supermarket and
examine them closely or under a dissecting microscope. Most kids are aghast
to learn that mushrooms are actually fruiting bodies of fungal colonies!
Another idea, which may require a bit more preparation, is to prepare a
culture plate, grow bacteria from dust around the classroom, skin scrapings,
etc. To make culture plates, buy sterilized plastic plates from a science
supply company. Also buy a culture medium preparation, such as triptych soy
agar, and follow the instructions on how to prepare it. Or, to make your own
medium, make up some plain Jello gelatin with thick chicken broth. Pour the
solutions into the plastic plates and allow the gelatin or agar to solidify.
Try to keep the lids on the plates to prevent air bacteria contamination.
(Actually leaving a plate with its cover off to collect air bacteria could be
interesting too - to see how much bacteria is in the air.)
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Update: June 2012