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Medicines from Microbes

  • Age range: 9-11 years
  • Science topic: Living things and their habitats
  • Type of enquiry: Comparative/fair tests, Observing changes over time, Problem solving

These activities provide an opportunity for children to think about micro-organisms and come to understand that they can be both helpful and harmful.The activities are put in a real life context, that of biotechnology and the development of new medicines, with the need to find the best conditions for mould growth.

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Growing mould

Science topic: Living things and their habitats
Type of enquiry: Comparative/fair tests
Keywords: micro-organisms, medicines, mould growth, fair test investigation

The children are introduced to the activity through a fictitious newspaper article which promotes discussion of the type of conditions which might encourage mould growth. They then investigate these conditions


Recording growth

Science topic: Living things and their habitats
Type of enquiry: Observing changes over time
Keywords: micro-organisms, mould growth, moisture, nutrients, warmth, light, recording

The work continues with regular observation and recording of the progress of the mould growth.


Reporting to the industry

Science topic: Living things and their habitats
Type of enquiry: Problem solving
Keywords: micro-organisms, conclusions, pattern seeking, observations, conditions for growth, presenting information

The children draw conclusions from their results, using line graphs to inform their decisions as to the best conditions for mould growth. They present their findings for discussion. They write an e-mail/letter to the industry suggesting ways the industry could most effectively grow mould.


Partners

Gatsby Charitable Foundation Supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.