Paramecia have many benefits in a biology classroom. They provide educational opportunities for students to learn about protists. Viewing paramecia allows students to observe organelles such as contractile vacuoles, food vacuoles, oral grooves, trichocysts, and macronuclei. The organism can be cultured easily and inexpensively using a plastic food container, wheat seeds, brewer's yeast, a standard aquarium, and a tank heater. An individual culture can typically last 2 to 3 weeks, and sometimes up to a month. Using this simple culturing method, a constant, on-demand supply of paramecia can be available in any biology classroom. This, coupled with the ability to concentrate paramecia, opens the door to a wide variety of laboratory applications.
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Vol. 72 • No. 8