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Second season: Microbes!

Kids Talk Science's second season started today and the topic is Microbes!

Get ready to talk about all things microbial, from the origin of life to superbugs, and everything in between!

We are planning to grow bacteria in the "lab" (that's what my kitchen is now called) and find out how antibacterials work (and why they are bad, bad for you if you overuse them).

Using our microscopes, we'll look at microbes that live on doorknobs, chairs, kitchen sinks and in the soil, and we'll do some really fun experiments, including making pickles and sauerkraut. We'll also learn about microorganisms living in our gut and how badly we need them.

We'll also explore what cells are made of and how different our cells are from bacterial cells. We are planning to build some fun cell models, perhaps edible models! And much, much more.

In our first class, we saw images of many different microbes that live around us.

Here are some of our favorites:

Pyrococcus furiosus, found in deep sea vents growing at temperatures close to 100 °C!

Volvox, a colony of beautiful green algae

Meredith's favorite, Stentor, a protozoan

And my personal favorite, the tardigrade or water bear, a tiny animal found in almost every habitat on Earth. They are the only animals capable of surviving in the cold vacuum of space!

We also observed some microbes and other small things we found around the kitchen and started to talk about what microbes actually are and what they look like.

Some pics from our first class:

Looking at small things

Learning to use one of our two types of microscopes

Making a thaumatrope, a pre-film animation device that gives the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings. In our case, we started with a very simple thaumatrope, two drawings glued back to back and a pencil in between. When you spin the pencil between your hands, both images meld into one. We'll show the final product next class.

Stay tuned!

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