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Dirt Life


Source Institutions

    Berkeley Natural History Museums

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Dirt Life

After an interest-generating discussion about "dirt" and microbes, learners select and collect soil samples from a variety of locations (schoolyard, home, etc.). They make a dilution in sterile water, plate it on a nutrient agar Petri dish, and then observe it 1-7 days later. Any growth on the Petri dish indicates the presence of microbes in the soil.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • Soil samples from two locations
  • Tube of sterile water (for dilution)
  • Empty Petri dish
  • Eyedropper
  • Sterile nutrient agar Petri dish
  • Dirt Life notebook insert

Subjects


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Protists and Fungi
    • Ecology
      • Biodiversity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories


  • Nature and Environment

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

  • Solberg, Owen; Fay, Scott

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, Berkeley Natural History Museums and the Regents of the University of California, ©2011

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