Food for thought: Bringing primary school microbiology to life

Celia Connor, Matthew Watkins, Ben Walter, John Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microorganisms (microbes) play essential roles in our lives, although the general media usually focuses on their negative or pathological aspects. Here we describe a collaborative approach between teachers and academics to teach primary school students about microbes in an engaging and diverse way. We introduced microbes, such as bacteria and fungi commonly used to prepare food, to Grade 1-2 students (ages 6-8 years old) in a day-long microbiology immersive activity in a rural Victorian school. The day was based on the sound pedagogical principles of collaboration and hands-on interactive activities. We worked closely with Grade 1-2 and Grade 5-6 students to help link the science of microbiology to key learning objectives. The partnership with teachers ensured the learning objectives were presented and supported in an age-appropriate manner. What followed was a day of enjoyable, engaging activities that helped build students science literacy. 'The Day' included hands-on activities, demonstrations and experiments showcasing various microbes. Student feedback was in the form of an end-of-day survey that revealed a solid understanding of key concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalTeaching Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


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