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Just Because You Cannot See It...Doesn't Mean It's Not There

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Keywords: microscopes, science, bacteria
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Photography, Biology, Science, Journalism
Grades 9 through 12
School: Maritime Academy Charter Schol, Philadelphia, PA
Planned By: Sarah Ward
Original Author: Sarah Ward, Philadelphia
This can be an introductory lesson to bacteria and other one-celled organisms. Students should have experience in using microscopes and creating slides.

Teacher preparation: (Older students can do this step before lesson is to take place)
1. Obtain sterile PETRI DISHES. You will need one per pair of students.
2. Make your AGAR according to package directions
3. Fill your petri dishes halfway and COVER QUICKLY.
4. Place newly made aside for class use. Preferably in a clean, sterile area.

1. Teacher will introduce students to agar and what it is used for.
2. Ask, How can we know something is around us, without actually seeing it?
3. Take student answers.
4. Give students materials needed for today (per pair): one agar-filled petri dish, 1 STERILE SWAB, and LAB NOTEBOOK. (Gloves are optional)
5. Assign an area in the room for students to test for unknown organisms.
6. Have students swab given area and rub agar with swab.
7. Remind students they must quickly place cover back.
8. Have students label their petri dish with group numbers or initials.
9. Have students place dishes in autoclave or, if one is not available, they can be placed in a warm place (will take longer to produce colonies)
10. Have students write down the procedure in their notebook along with any observations, prediction, etc.
11. At this point, teachers can give a supplemental reading on bacteria.

1. Students will get their petri dish and observe what is there.
2. Using an OLYMPUS FE 310 DIGITAL CAMERA, students will document what they observe.
3. Afterwards, students will take a sample, following the teacher's instructions, and create a slide.
4. Students will then observe the bacteria using a COMPUTER MICROSCOPE. They will take pictures at different magnifications.
5. Throughout this process students will document their findings in their lab notebook.
6. Remind students to save their photos to their computer.

1. Students will open up their photos and choose which they are going to use.
2. Use TOOL FACTORY DATABASE or TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR to create photo documentation including detailed captions.
3. Students can present their findings.

DAY FOUR (optional):
1. Using their projects from DAY THREE students can create a webpage using TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE.
2. The teacher can compile all of the students' works and place them on the school or class website.
Can be extended using antibotic disks.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Can be used as a health lesson to talk about germs.
Materials: Web Page, Database, Word Processor, Science, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Digital SLR, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 15 Petri Dishes, $5.00 each, total of $75.00
30 Sterile Swabs, $15.00 each, total of $450.00
1 QX5 Computer Microscope, $89.95 each, total of $89.95
1 Agar, $10.00 each, total of $10.00