Styrofoam Traps

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Description

In this activity, learners use Styrofoam to collect organisms from a pond, estuary or marine environment and then examine what they have caught with a microscope. The tiny spaces in Styrofoam peanuts and blocks of polyurethane foam can be colonized by microorganisms and can be used to fish bacteria and protists out of marine and freshwater environments. Use this activity to learn about species characterization or to compare the organisms that live in different habitats.

Quick Guide

  • Preparation Time: Under 5 minutes
  • Learning Time: 1 to 7 days
  • Estimated materials cost: $1 - $5 per group of students
  • Age Range: Ages 8 - 18
  • Language: English

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Several pieces of string or monofilament fishing line (approx. 8 inches each)
  • Fishing weight
  • Styrofoam peanuts or polyurethane foam
  • String
  • Covered jar or Ziploc bag
  • Petri dishes
Subjects

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • Nature and Environment
  • Physical Activity

Subjects

  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Viruses and Bacteria
      • Protists and Fungi
      • Classification
      • Biodiversity
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
Audience

To use this activity learners need to

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities
Other

Components that are part of this resource

By

Lorraine Olendzenski

Rights

Creative Commons Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa), Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College,

Funding sources

  • National Science Foundation, 0333402
  • National Science Foundation, 0333363

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