"Magnficient Microbes" Kids program

The “Magnificent Microbes” kids summer microbiology program was a one-week summer program for kids from 5th to 8th grade that explored the world of microbes. The program ran from 2014-2016 and was offered through the UConn “Kids are Scientists and Engineers” (KASET) program.

We met for five days from 9:00 am until noon. On Monday we collected termites, soil samples, roots of plants with nodules of bacteria on them, and some blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) from the surface of soil in the lawns on campus. We took these back to the lab for experiments and to look at the microbes under the microscope.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we did lab experiments and demonstrations on kitchen microbiology (yogurt, bread molds, dishrag disinfection) and bacterial processes (gas production that makes bread dough rise and growth on lactose by gut bacteria to mimic lactose intolerance). On Thursday we went back outside to collect samples from the local pond and soils using microscope slides that had been left there for two weeks. We took those back to the lab to have a look at them under the microscope. On Friday we looked back at all our experiments and then toured some of our Microbiology labs. We saw the electron microscopes, a lab that studies bacteria that grow with the bobtail squid (including one that glows in the dark), microbes that grow inside termites’ guts, bacteria that grow above the temperature of a well-done steak (70°C or 158°F), and microbes called halophilic (“salt-loving”) archaea that grow in water saturated with table salt (sodium chloride).

See some of the experiments we did here as well as copies of our lab manuals

KASET forcepsNew termite farm

<Testing methods to disinfect pieces of a dirty dishcloth

                Termites after about a day in a termite farm>

KASET pond


<Collecting samples from a pond on the UConn campus

A bobtail squid from Dr. Spencer > Nyholm’s lab
Lab samples White bread glucose nasty copyKASET microscopeKASET lab

Samples collected on a field trip > around the UConn campus

<An experiment to see what would grow on white bread after it was sprinkled with water containing the sugar glucose

<Looking at termites under a microscope in Dr. Daniel Gage’s lab

Putting cultures of thermophiles (bacteria that grow at high temperatures) into an oven in the lab>

<Collecting samples down by the UConn pond

Contact me at: kenneth.noll@uconn.edu                                                                                                              © Kenneth Noll 2017