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1 May 2013 A Hair & a Fungus: Showing Kids the Size of a Microbe
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Abstract

A simple method is presented to show bids the size of a microbe — a fungus hypha — compared to a human hair. Common household items are used to make sterile medium on a stove or hotplate, which is dispensed in the cells of a weekly plastic pill box. Mold fungi can be easily and safely grown on the medium from the classroom environment. A microscope capable of 200–400× is necessary. Students can use a hair from their own head to view a fungus and a hair side-by-side on the same slide. They will see that a microscopic fungus hypha is 20–50× smaller in diameter than a hair. Older students will also learn that microbes are measured in micrometers, that fungi are ubiquitous, and that decay is an inevitable part of Earth's processes.

©2013 by National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp .
Dana L. Richter "A Hair & a Fungus: Showing Kids the Size of a Microbe," The American Biology Teacher 75(5), 336-339, (1 May 2013). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2013.75.5.7
Published: 1 May 2013
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