Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Antibiotic Lab Investigation (Day 2 of 3) - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


The two main points of emphasis were made in class today:

#1) making sure that proper protective equipment and protocols were followed

#2) giving students the opportunity to practice the inoculation technique in order to properly transfer the bacteria from the E. coli starter plate to each lab group's Petri dish.

As a matter of practice I prepare a handful of extra Petri dishes when bacterial labs are performed. These extra plates serve to help students develop the feel of using the inoculation loops and how much pressure to exert when making contact with the agar's surface. Too often, novice students are too forceful when streaking the agar and gouge the surface of the agar.

If this were to happen, then bacteria will tend to grow into the groove/chasm created rather than growing laterally into the ideal "lawn" of bacteria across the agar's surface. Each and every student then is given practice streaking bacteria using these extra plates. If mistakes were made then there is no risk to the actual plates that will be used by individual lab teams. With practice, students can then perform the inoculation technique more proficiently.

In my experience, novice students have a lot of anxiety about doing this activity for the first time. Of course there is the fear of unintentionally spreading bacteria and, as a result, getting sick and secondly, not wanting to mess up their group's only Petri dish. Therefore, by scaffolding in a hands-on opportunity to practice where failure has no consequence, students are much more at ease when practicing this technique and, as a result, gain more confidence when they are actually doing the "real" task. In reality, the only cost to me is making a few more Petri dishes when I am spending the same amount of time pouring the "real" ones. So there is much to gain with little to no cost. Sounds like a great deal to me!

  Problem-based Approaches: Practice makes perfect (well, if not perfect then at least better)!
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Antibiotic Lab Investigation (Day 2 of 3)

Unit 1: 1) Intro to Science ("Investigations by Design")
Lesson 9 of 10

Objective: Students will learn the basic details regarding the background history of antibiotics, the nature of bacterial organisms, and explore the phenomenon of antibacterial/antimicrobial resistance in a hands-on manner.

Big Idea: Bacterial infections, the use of antibiotics, and their increasing resistance to many antibiotics is a growing and widespread issue for medical science. Students will investigate this issue in a hands-on lab.

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2 teachers like this lesson
Science, Scientific Method (Science Skills), LS1, cause and effect, asking questions, investigation, Data Analysis & Interpretation, Engaging in Argument, Communicating Information, habits of mind, Science Practices, numerical data
  55 minutes
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