I went to summer conference this year and learned about how to have inquiry based labs and I decided to give it a whirl on this first lab since we were studying bacteria.
It’s our first field trip from the classroom and students are going all of our big campus to explore their own bacteria. They created their own experimental question, title, hypothesis and more. Usually I tell them what to study and give them ideas, but this time I put the ball completely in their court.
This group is studying refrigerator handles all over campus. They are determining which ones are the dirtiest. Could it be the CTE faculty lounge, counslor lounge, main office lounge or the foods class? Wow, what an neat experiment to see which has the most bacteria.
We started this lab with the results to come later as the bad bacteria grows in petri dishes for a couple of weeks.
Students are swabbing away if you look closely.
Then we started another inquiry lab studying good bacteria by making our own homemade yogurt in various ways. I had crockpots and a yogurt maker. Once again, I allowed students to make their own experimental question and hypothesis.
One group thought the crock pot yogurt was going to be thinner than the machine.
After an observation with lab notes and another group used a taste test, both groups agreed both yogurts were quite runny. This led me to showing them how to make greek yogurt by straining the yogurt through cheese cloth or a coffee filter.
Both bacteria experiments were hands-on and the students were quite inquisitve about both processes.
I’m definitely keeping these interactive labs, along with the inquiry process that I learned over the summer in the lesson plans.