Germs All Around Us

Wash your hands! Cover your mouth when you sneeze! Don’t touch that!

What is all of this about? What are we washing off? And what is coming out of our mouth that we need to cover it? Even though you cannot see them, germs live everywhere!

In this BioBox you will get to take a close look Germs – what they are, where they can be found, and how some of these organisms can actually be important on earth!

There are 5 eye-opening experiments in this BioBox, each marked with the approximate time to complete. First you will create a Zoo for your Germ collection, then you will collect germs from their hiding places. You will get to take a look at some of these organisms under the microscope as well. In experiment 4 you get to see just how important it is to wash your hands! Does it really make a difference? And then finally you get to see that these organisms can actually do something that is valuable to earth. It is important to begin with experiment 1, but then the order of completing the other experiments is up to you! You are the scientist!

Included in this box:

10 petri dishes

Prepared agar

Gloves

Sharpie

Sterile cotton applicators

Blank slides

Pipettes

Wooden sticks

Ziplock bag for disposal

Hand sanitizer

4 beakers

2 packets of yeast

Watch the video for some great tips for your BioBox!


Details of this box:

Experiment 1: Making the Microbe Zoo 

In this experiment you will prepare the petri dishes to be used as Microbe Zoos.

Bacteria under a scanning electron microscope

Bacteria under a scanning electron microscope

Tips:

  • Keep your hands clean and away from the inside of the petri dishes – wearing gloves may help.

  • Let agar cool a full hour before adding your germs for Exp. 2 or 4.

  • Store dishes upside down

 

Experiment 2: Collecting the Zoo Organisms

Think about everywhere you think germs may be hiding. These are great places to collect your organisms!

Tips:

sponge+petri.jpg
  • If you have more than 5 places you want to collect, divide the agar in half by cutting a straight line across the gel with a knife. This should keep the 2 types of germs separated. Be sure to mark the sides on the back of the dish with your sharpie.

  • Germs will take from 2-5 days to become visible depending on the weather.

  • Keep dishes CLOSED when observing. You may need to tap it a bit to get rid of the water droplets.

 

 

Experiment 3: Microscopic view of Germs

You will get to gather tiny samples of your germ organisms and magnify them under the microscope.

Tips:

  • Review your microscope skills before you begin.

  • Wear gloves!

  • Use small samples otherwise the clumps will make it hard to see individual organisms and tiny drops of stain

  • Carefully follow clean up tips in lab notebook

 

Experiment 4: Hand washing experiment

image via Flickr.com

image via Flickr.com

Tips:

  • Read the experiment before beginning. Knowing which finger to streak is important

  • Have someone help you with washing your hands

Experiment 5: Why Are Microbes Important?

So why do we need these organisms that seem to create so many problems? In this experiment you will see how microbes are earth’s powerful decomposers.

Tips:

  • Once all of the materials have been added to each beaker, tightly cover them with plastic wrap or they will become quite smelly!

  • Allow to sit 2-4 days until you begin to see some decomposing.

  • Decomposing will look like a soupy mess.

  • When finished, you may wash the contents down the sink or throw the entire beaker and all into the trash.

 Let the Epic Experiments begin! 

What an adventure – we are so glad you have joined us! Please let us know about your experiments: send pictures, give tips for other BioBoxers, share favorite results. Find us on Facebook and Instagram. #bioboxlabs

Lisa SommersComment