Microbiology for Kindergartners and 1st Graders

What good is knowledge if it can't be shared? And who better to share it with than a bunch of curious little kids? For this assignment, each group will develop a short exercise designed to teach kindergartners and 1st graders something about the wonderful world of microbiology. This assignment will have three parts. During Week 1, the elementary school children will come to Davidson to conduct their experiments with you. During Week 2, we will go to Davidson Elementary School to present the results to the students. And finally, during Week 3, each group will give a presentation to our class and submit a report on their activity.

When the children come to Davidson, they will be divided into four groups of 5-6 students each. These groups then will rotate among our lab groups. Each activity should only take about 10-15 minutes, including any explanations you need to provide. Remember - the kids are 5 and 6 years old - plan your activities accordingly. For the most part, they cannot read. They may not be entirely clear on left versus right or bigger (greater than 20!) numbers. So keep it simple. And engage the kids. They should be actively involved, not just watching. Despite these constraints, these activities should be true experiments. Your activity must address an interesting question.

Proposals are due by 10:30 AM on Monday, March 20. These proposals should describe the question you will address, a detailed protocol, and a list of materials (and amounts) that you will need. Remember, you will be conducting the experiment four times, so make sure your list of materials is sufficient for four iterations of your experiment. During lab on March 21 and 22, I will review the proposals with each group. If there are problems, the proposal must be revised within 48 hours.

During lab on March 28 and 29, each group will do a test run of their activity. The students will visit us on April 4 and 5 and we will visit DES on April 11 and 12. When we visit the elementary school, each group will review the results of their activity with the children. Again, this presentation should be short - probably about five minutes.

During lab on April 25 and 26, each group will give a presentation to our class on their activity. These presentations should include a description of the activity and your assessment of what worked and what did not work. On this date also, each group will hand in a final report. This report should include a description of your activity, a detailed protocol, and an analysis of how effective it was.

Grades will be based on several factors, including how interesting/appropriate your activity is, the quality of your presentation to the children, the quality of your presentation to our class, and the quality of your final report. The children's teacher also will provide me with feedback about your activities and presentations.