Experiments for Kids | Effecting Plant Growth – Lemon Lime Adventures.
I really like this idea. We already use a version where we grow plants lacking certain nutrients (without phosphate, without nitrate, etc), but for a STEM session or science at home, this might be far easier to come to grips with. In the experiment Lemon and Lime did, they used tap water, river water, salt water, carbonated water and soda. I would love to add in acidic and an alkali water (both can be made easily at home).
Then, measure the plants and their growth over a week or two – obviously at home that is far easier to do each day and in STEM the changes might be huge within a week, but I still think it would be so fun to do! Plus, we sometimes have an issue with getting our STEM members to make predictions and they do it during/after the experiment (you know, when they can’t be wrong! Haha!) and this one is ideal because they won’t see any results for a week!
I think it might also be far more visual than the in-school version that we do! It might also be worth trying in test tubes with cress seeds as the watering them aspect is never as much of an issue and the growth is far quicker.
I got sent the following link to have a look into for our KS4 and possibly STEM groups – Antimicrobial Properties of Spices – and it looks really interesting, although I am biased as Microbiology is my background. The journal article is very well laid out and planned, easily adaptable to use in a classroom setting or even for some at home science and the scientific explanations are not too difficult to get your head around. Some rice pudding and different spices… that’s all you really need and you’re off. You could use any spices that you want, powdered and out of date samples like the paper uses, too.
I then did a very quick google search and found this link – Ability of Curry and Cinnamon to Inhibit Bacterial Growth – and loved the even greater simplicity. This method would be perfect for our STEM sessions. I do prefer microbiology experiments to be performed on actual agar (I think it makes it safer for the students as they are consciously more aware that it’s bacteria they’re dealing with) and it can be regulated far easier. The Science Fair suggests using normal agar, dirty fingers and then cinnamon and curry oil to watch the bacterial growth. I wonder if it would work with direct contamination of a bacteria (like the E. coli we always have) and then either disks of different oils or a dilution range of oils or a plate for each oil. One of our Microbiology stock experiments is using different hand soaps on disks to see its effects on E. coli, how about adding in an oil? Or more food preservatives? This could be handy in a food storage unit.
Definitely one to try. Either version!
Technically not just microbes, but look who’s come to join us in the department!
I used to work in a microbiology department of a hospital and we (well, the lab) had one Giant Furry Microbe. I couldn’t even tell you now which one it was, but they were quite difficult to get hold of all those years ago. Now, with an online UK shop, they’re easy to buy. Here they are divided into human cells and bacteria, virus and fungus cells.
I think my favourite is the antibody followed by the sperm (just because of the cute little bow). Now to use them in lessons!
Connections Academy – Online School for Grades K–12.
This would be really nice as part of the right geography/geology/earth science unit and maybe as an Easter fun session. I really like the try this idea of different types of salts and sugars. Could you add a different colour half way through the week? Would it all mix or one just grow on top of the other?