Natural Selection of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

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In this activity (p.3-4 of PDF), learners learn about disease transmission and antibiotic resistance. In this activity, an educator shows what could happen if one learner has not washed his/her hands properly before lunch and becomes ill as a result. The educator uses beans to illustrate both disease transmission and the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Use this activity to discuss the importance of proper hygiene, disease transmission, and both natural and artificial selection.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Four packets of dried beans, each of a different color
  • Six containers, preferably fully transparent


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Viruses and Bacteria
    • Evolution
      • Mechanisms of Evolution
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Cavanagh, Dave ; Pickup, Nikki ; Cavanagh, Laura


  • All rights reserved, Professor Dave Cavanagh, Dr. Nikki Pickup and Laura Cavanagh, Institute for Animal Health,