Eco-Inquiry, an ecology curriculum for grades 5-8 helps teachers transform their classrooms into centers of ecological research.

Day 3: Culturing Bacteria and Fungi Decomposers


Students do a controlled experiment to culture microbes living on items they collected outside.

Lesson Overview

Students will be able to: explain what a fair test is and why scientists use controlled experiments, develop the habit of using their journal for recording observations and questions, relate experimental evidence back to their predictions and give possible reasons for the outcomes, understand that microbes grow on their food source causing decomposition as they consume it

Sessions 1-6 -each 40 min

Session 1

For the class:
- newsprint sheets for class lists
- 1-2 3 oz. boxes of flavored Jello (lemon, lime or orange)
- bowl
- spoon
- boiling water
- paper towels
-measuring cup

For each pair of students:
- 3 petri dishes or other clear containers with flat bottoms and covers
-clear tape
- masking tape

Session 2

For each pair of students:
- 2 hand lenses

Sessions 3-5

For each pair of  students:
- 2 hand lenses
- copy of "Science Fair Story #1"
-copy of "Science Fair Story #2"


See Lesson Resources below for further details.

Lesson Resources
NYS Standards
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
5D Interdependence of Life
5E Flow of Matter and Energy
12C Manipulation and Observation
12D Communication Skills

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