Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
Beneficial microorganisms
Name of the teacher
Ewelina Gizińska
Country where it took place
School typology
Primary school
Thematic Area
Biology, Science
Experience typology
Teaching in class
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
Problem: Learning about microorganisms and processes that they carry out is often difficult and confusing for students. Classes basing on too much theory without empirical evidence do not arouse childrens’ interest and willingness to deepen their knowledge.
Solution of the problem: I propose to enrich lessons with experiences that will help students to understand the issues related to the life and functioning of micro-organisms.
Experience 1 " How does dough grow?"
Children with the help of teacher carry out the experience by following the instructions.

- 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- ¼ glass of water
- balloon
- flask
Mix the yeast and sugar with water. Pour the mixture into a flask (bottle). Put a balloon on the flask top. Put the flask in warm water for 20 - 30 min.
The balloon filled with gas shows how important significance during baking bread and cakes yeast has. The teacher in simple way explains to children the process of fermentation, which is carried out by these microorganisms. Teacher points out that fungi, through feeding on sugar produce gas - carbon dioxide, which leavens the dough and leaves tiny holes in it.

Experiment 2 " How is the yoghurt made?"
The teacher explains to students the role dairy lactic acid bacteria play in the processs of production of yogurt and many other dairy products. The teacher points out several strains responsible for the production of lactic acid and other compounds giving products characteristic taste, aroma and texture.
Kids with the teacher's support produce their own yogurt according to the following recipe.
- 1 litre of milk
- sachet of yoghurt bacteria (eg, L. bulgaricus , S. thermophilus , B.lactis ) or a few tablespoons of natural yogurt containing such strains
- A large jar with lid
- thermometer

Heat the milk to temperature of 43-45˚ C. Add bacteria or yogurt. Pour everything into a jar and cover tightly. Place the jar in a warm place, preferably next to a radiator overnight. On the next day the yogurt is ready.

Children love to carry out experience through which they can obtain empirical evidence to support the newly acquired knowledge. They are happy to describe and photograph effects. Reports of the most interesting experience are published in the school magazine.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.11.09

Posted by Irena Šuchterova (Slovakia)

I appreciate the use of practical exercise that will help students to be better oriented in a given area. They will better remember what they have seen rather than what they have heard. By active involvement and work, more knowledge remains in the minds of students.
• I think that observation and active experiential learning are prerequisite to better increase of interest in science subjects and the understanding that science is very close to normal life, it is all around us.
• I share similar experience. Students work better when they have opportunities to discover certain facts, phenomena and laws of nature by themselves; not just take the information from the teacher, but find it out by their own experience.
• Our students can experience the examples of a colleague at the special training and special subjects, where they prepare dough (good cakes for lunch) and also at home, where they can make a yogurt.

Date: 2014.11.06

Posted by M. Reyes Llácer (Spain)

I completely agree with this experience because sometimes it is difficult to understand metabolism and other empirical concepts.
This kind of experiences are very simple and improve the learning process.
I have a laboratory practice about fungi and my students see the fermentation process too.

Date: 2014.10.30

Posted by Chiara Cheti (Italy)

This experience is very simple, but it is good also with the freshmen of the upper secondary schools. It is useful to explain the role of the microorganisms and above all that the major part of them is not harmful to the human being. Actually they are extremely useful. The activity presented here can be certainly reproduced.

Date: 2014.09.09

Posted by Laura Capella (Italy)

I think this esperience is amazingly relevant. It is performed in primary School and it can be well understood by children as an example of Chemical transformation, but I think it should be performed in other School Levels as a starting point to explain difficult subjects as methabolism in microorganisms and bio chemical reactions.
Often the lack of motivation in class is due to an apparent distance between subjects and real life, this experiment is one more possibility to overcame this distance.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.