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Culturing Bacteria and Fungi Decomposers

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Unit Plan: Decomposer Dynamics Lesson: 3 Time: Sessions 1-6 (each 40 min) Setting: Classroom Objectives:

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


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


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 for further details.

Lesson Files:
Benchmarks for Science Literacy: 5D Interdependence of Life 5E Flow of Matter and Energy 12C Manipulation and Observation 12D Communication Skills NYS Standards: MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
Next Generation Science Standards
Science and Engineering Practices: Asking questions and defining problems Planning and carrying out investigations Analyzing and interpreting data Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Hogan, Kathleen. Eco-Inquiry: A Guide to Ecological Learning Experiences for the Upper Elementary/Middle Grades. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, PO Box 1840, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, IA 52004-1840., 1994.