Food Experiment: Growing Mold in the Classroom

Integrating science into our lessons about healthy eating is a key part of what we do at UNL Extension. We try to instill a love and respect for science, but also help kids understand why science really matters. Over the last few weeks I have been working with students at Franklin Elementary School in a 4-H Nutrition Club after school. We started off with a Moldy Bread Experiment from our nutrition school enrichment kit. Four different slices of fresh bakery bread were used in the experiment.

Bag One: “Not Touched”

Bag Two: “Air” – this bread was left sitting on a plate open to the air for about 5 minutes.

Bag Three: “Desk” – this piece of bread was wiped across a well-used desk.

Bag Four: “Hands” – this piece of bread was passed from student to student.

Each piece of bread was sealed in large plastic bag with a few tablespoons of water and left to “mold” over the next 3-weeks. Ideally, the students would have a chance to examine the bread weekly over the course of the experiment, but due to a cancellation and spring break we didn’t get to examine the results until the 3-weeks was over, but that worked out just fine.

Students used magnifying glasses to take a closer look at the bread. They were shocked at the amount of mold on the bread. They also commented on how the bread smelled. It had started to ferment and the smell was definitely noticeable. Some of the molds were green, like you would expect to see on bread. This was especially true for the “not touched” piece of bread. However, the others had dark black mold and even a red-colored mold.

What was the bottom line of this experiment? The way we take care of our food matters. As a class we talked about the importance of washing hands before touching and eating food. We also talked about how it is important to have clean surfaces to cook and eat on. Students learned that some molds can make us sick so we should avoid eating food that has any mold growing on it.

If you want your child or students to learn more about healthy eating in a hands-on way, contact us to learn how. School enrichment kits are available for checkout by classroom teachers or after school programs. They are designed to be a “ready to go” science-based curriculum that is easy to use because all lesson materials are included. Just review the lesson and teach the concepts. We do the prep-work for you.

Want to learn more about mold? Is it ever safe to eat food that has mold on it? Find out here.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.