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Adventures in Life Science – Kingdom Monera

October 24, 2007

Chers Amis, Bacteria

Or should I say a la Milton Berle, "Ladies and Germs",
welcome to the latest installment in our 2007-2008 season of "Adventures in Life Science."  For the last three weeks we have been discussing and experimenting with the Kingdom Monera: our friends and foes Bacteria.   (As always, this program is sponsored, supported and largely organized by my fab, non blogging co-teacher, Dr. P. )

Week one concentrated on continuing our study of cell structure and introducing  what defines a member of the Kingdom Monera.  FYI – there are two primary types of cells in the known world:  those with a true nucleusBactshapes (eukaryotic) and those without (prokaryotic).  Bacteria are prokaryotic so we clarified some of the differences between the two groups. We also went into detail on the basics of bacteria shapes and arrangements.  In order to  help the girls see the structural differences, we have been integrating the excellent Life Science Power Practice
diagrams with our study.  Thumbs up!  It has very good reproducables
on bacteria structure, shapes and classification with just the right
level of detail
for 4-8th grades. We will be using this all year,
adding some color pencils for fun. Theresa at LaPaz Home Learning also has a series of fabulous three-part cards for many of the Kingdoms and Phyla.  We have used the cards on Kingdom Monera and I just printed Kingdom Protista. They are wonderful.  (Thanks for sharing, Theresa!!)  United Streaming has several very good films on-line and our library has a good selection of books on bacteria, viruses (not in Kingdom Monera), and ‘germs’.  If I have time, I will try to add a page’ with our ongoing book list.

Week two was initiated by receipt of a shipment from Homescience Tools.  Who knew agar100_1777
and petri dishes could cause such glee from the 10-11 crowd? The highlight of this segment was beginning an experiment comparing the effectiveness of four antiseptics/disinfectants from The Science of Life by Frank G. Bottone, Jr.  In short, we prepared four petri dishes with a pre-made agar solution,  used a sharpie  to mark the "C" or control side and the name of the disinfectant/antiseptic used in that dish (Clorox  spray, hydrogen peroxide,  Lysol spray,  or  a solution of hand soap), applied the disinfectant to one side and then swiped what100_1778 Scarlett called "bacterial tea" across the two surfaces. (Note:  make sure you start on the control side so that you do not add disinfectant by mistake.)  The  contaminant was a mixture of  standing water,  liquid from our compost  bin  and garden dirt. Milk and cream with your tea? The girls wrote their hypotheses and made a simple bar graph predicting  the performance of each disinfectant before placing the petri dishes on the top of our refrigerator in a closed box to proof. Each day we opened the box, took photos, and the girls sketched the results and recorded their observations.  So do you think we saw any growth?  Did one disinfectant work better than the others and why?   To be continued . . . 

— Marjorie

PS –  I will load a slide show with our results 🙂

PS – With all this talk of bacteria, what then are viruses you might ask?  Viruses
are not considered to be living organisms in the same way and mystify
microbiologists.  One book we read called them "RNA wrapped up in a
protein blanket."  This was news to me.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 24, 2007 4:34 pm

    Thanks, Marjorie. I was finally able to introduce the kids to biological classification, and Gareth is interested in Monerans right now. I think he’d enjoy these resources!

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