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Micro students dazzle fifth graders at Howard B. Stroud Elementary School.

Friday, December 9, 2022 - 8:42am
Image:
Figure. A baby MudWatt chamber with slowly growing soil bacteria eating paper and making electricity.

During the week of November 14-17, 2022, doctoral students from the Department of Microbiology provided microbiology demonstrations in Kim Whitehead’s fifth grade STEM enrichment class. Demonstrators were Abigail Deaven, Amber Depoy, Helen Dukes, Audrey Rex, Elliot Sheldon, and Hannah Stanley. Students were excited to use microscopes to view the ‘little animals’ in the termite gut. This exercise introduced students to the importance of communities: the community formed by a termite colony, the community formed by the protists, and the community of bacteria within the termite hindgut.  Dr. Whitman also guided the class in construction of MudWatt chambers. In MudWatt, soil bacteria generate electricity that causes a light to flash. While students enjoyed playing with mud, a critical part of this experiment, it should take a couple of weeks to see if it worked*. Thanks also to Prof. Brian Forschler of Entomology, who provided the termites, and Rachel Dockman, who helped organize the exposition.

 

Figure. A baby MudWatt chamber with slowly growing soil bacteria eating paper and making electricity.

 

*News update: the lights began flashing after Thanksgiving.

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