A Gross Science Experiment

I've always loved science. I even wanted to be a micro-biologist at one time in my pre-children life. Of course, science experiments are lots of fun for me, especially gross ones :) Check this one out...

We are always talking to Nicholas about the importance of washing his hands even if he doesn't see that they are dirty. He usually counts to 20 as he rubs the soap on them to be sure that he is washing them long enough. However, sometimes he tries to skimp by counting really fast or not using soap. So I found a little experiment to do to show him how germs can be places even when you can't see them.

All you need are three pieces of white bread (lighter color will show the growth better than wheat bread); three clean jars with lids numbered 1, 2, and 3; a sprinkle of water; and a magnifying glass.

We would have liked to have used three whole slices of bread but we had small jars to work with so we had to cut three smaller pieces from a single slice of bread.

Touch only a tiny corner of one of the pieces of bread and place it in jar #1 and screw on the lid.

Sprinkle a tiny bit of water on another piece of bread and leave it outside for 20 minutes. Place it in jar #2 and screw on the lid.

Sprinkle the third piece of bread then rub it between your hands and along the kitchen counter. Our piece got rubbed well with little boy hands, along all of the kitchen countertops, dropped on the floor, then rubbed on the floor. Place piece of bread in jar #3 and screw on the lid.

Place the jars in a dark place and check on them every few days.

Out of sight, out of mind, right? I forgot about our jars and we checked on them in a few weeks! Ewww!

Jar #1 showed little activity at all. Jar #2 had some interesting white and crusty yellow growth on it. But the one we really had fun with and wiped all kinds of germs on was obviously the most fun to look at. It had significant growth of some funky green fuzzy stuff.

What does this teach us? First, it means Mommy is in desperate need of a maid because I don't have time to cherish the days with my children AND have a clean kitchen. But it also taught us that even though something looks clean, like a piece of bread or your own hand, it may still have lots of germs and bacteria on it. Ahhh, I love a lesson that is taught in such tangible, albeit gross, ways!

Nicholas had fun using his tweezers and looking at the bread with his magnifying glass. But I had fun watching how excited he was learning the point I was trying to get through to him.

I've gotten in the habit of taking off my shoes when I come inside. I started doing it mostly for comfort but after having shampooed the carpet and seeing all of the gross stuff that came out of it, I'm a big believer in trying to keep the dirt and germs at the door now. But Nicholas and Stuart don't follow my same line of thinking so I have to throw in some propaganda now and then when I get the chance. So while I was talking about the invisible germs on the bread, I also mentioned how we bring dirt and germs into the house when we walk from outside to inside with our shoes. Nicholas decided that we should repeat our bread experiment and test one piece of bread on the bottom of our shoes after walking around outside and another piece of bread on the bottom of our feet. I love how he is taking our experiment and expanding on it with our new hypothesis. My little scientist in the making :)

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