Activity Plan 4-5: Behold the Mold!
Watch what springs up with this science activity
- Grades: PreK–K
- several plastic food containers with lids
- duct or wide masking tape
- scrap of bread, cheese, lemon or lime (and other food items that the group may want to observe)
- chart paper and drawing paper
- markers, colored pencils
Prepare a blank calendar with squares large enough for children to record observations of their mold experiment.
Invite children to share what they know about mold or what they think mold is. Explain that mold is something that grows on food that is no longer good to eat. Molds can also grow on things that are damp, like a wet towel that is kept in a bag and doesn't dry.
Explain that children, acting like scientists, will conduct an experiment about how mold grows on foods. Divide them into small groups. Give each group two different types of food items to prepare. Ask them to place one dampened food item (like a piece of bread) in one container and the same food item, not dampened, into another container. Ask children to tape the container lids so that they are airtight, and label the containers to identify the damp and dry food items.
Bring the groups together and ask them to predict what will happen to the different food items. Which items do they think will get moldy the fastest? Will wet items develop mold faster than dry items? How many days will it take for the mold to begin to appear on each food item? Record their predictions.
Provide time for groups to observe the different foods each day. Assist children in recording their observations by using their calendars, creating observational drawings and photographing the development of mold. Develop a chart to summarize what children learn from this experiment. Work with them to develop a visual presentation that documents their experiment.
Remember: Not all children will exhibit the same level of interest in the experiment. Some children may enjoy taking photographs while others may enjoy illustrating their observations in the daily calendar.
Curriculum Connection: COOKING
A Blue-Cheese Snack. Bring in some blue cheese and blue-cheese dressing for children to taste. Explain that this is a cheese that has developed a mold that is actually fine to eat. Invite children to taste some blue cheese either alone or on a cracker. Place a bit of blue-cheese dressing on their plate and invite them to try it as a dip with carrots, bell peppers, or cucumber slices.