Artful Bacteria: Educating Children About Healthy Behaviors and Healthcare Professions Through the Beauty of Microbes
This project explores bacteria collecting, testing, and identification as a means to compile a presentation for children that incorporates pictures of bacteria art. This project is meant to inspire an interest in science in these children, to educate them on various sources of environmental microbes, and to reveal the medical laboratory science healthcare profession to them. Multiple environmental sources of bacteria were investigated and bacteria were differentiated and subcultured from mixed cultures. Multiple specimens were cultured on multiple growth mediums, including specialized chromogenic agars that produced colorful colonies of yeast. As the bacteria propagated, they formed pictures or images referred to as bacteria art. The bacteria art is unique because it has not been used previously as a teaching tool. Using the pictures of bacteria art, the presentation shows what types of bacteria grow around people when they do not have proper hygiene, food safety techniques, or wash their hands. The presentation also includes information about the medical laboratory science profession which routinely works in microbiology and identifying organisms. A pre- and post-questionnaire could be used to determine the effectiveness of the presentation.
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