Damascus Middle School GATE Students Conduct Bacteria Lab

The DMS GATE students recently conducted a science experiment on bacteria.  Petri dishes were prepared with agar, and students were asked to test certain places in the school for the presence of bacteria.  Students brainstormed the places they thought would produce the most bacteria and predicted the places they thought would produce the least amount of germs (bacteria).  Students received swabs and went around the school to gather their bacteria specimens.

     The places they chose were as follows:  student sick telephone, teacher time clock, parent buzzer at front door, start button on the copier, Mr. Keith's cell phone number pad, basketball (PE equipment), Mrs. Doss's steering wheel, student microwave, glue sticks in Mrs. Blackburn's room, couch in the library, main hallway water fountain, door knob to the teacher bathroom in the 6/7 grade hall, student locker, mouthpiece of a band instrument, 8th grade toilet seat, Mrs. Reynold’s mouth (she's been sick this past week), 7th grade math calculator, 6th grade student desk, computer in the lab, and the light switch in the 6th grade pod.  After gathering the bacteria specimens, the students swabbed the agar with the bacteria.  Petri dishes were then sealed and placed in a room temperature environment. 

     After 48 hours, the following results were noted.  The places that produced the most bacteria were:  student sick telephone, basketball (PE equipment), 6th grade student desk, and the student microwave.  The places that produced the least amount of bacteria were:  8th grade toilet seat, Mr. Keith’s cell phone, main hallway water fountain, and the library couch.  The other places swabbed showed mild to moderate signs of bacteria.  Discussions were held as to why certain places had more bacteria than others.  This was a most informative science experiment and one that we will continue in future years at alternate locations in the community.