Investigating Bacteria with the Winogradsky Column

Brian Rogan, The Woodrow Wilson Foundation Leadership Program for Teachers

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This is an instructor's guide to teaching about biodiversity in the microbial world. This activity encourages students to investigate bacteria using a Winogradsky Column. Students can create a unique environment with slight variations on the "recipe" and soon have an inquiry project that could easily occupy the entire year. With the simple extensions given, teachers can isolate and grow a number of the species found in the column and extend this column to a number of examples in the real world showing the relevance of this complex yet deceptively simple lab.

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Subject: Biology:Ecology:Symbiotic Relations:Mutualism, Biology:Ecology:Symbiotic Relations, Principles, Biofilms, Metabolism, Biology:Microbiology, Microbiology:Methods of Microbiology , Biology:Biogeochemistry
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work, Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Extreme Environments: Anoxic
Topics: Biosphere:Ecology:Metabolism, Abiotic Relations, Symbiotic Relations, Habitats:Terrestrial, Biosphere:Ecology:Biofilms, Biosphere:Methods of Microbiology, Ecology:Principles, Biosphere:Microbiology, Biogeochemistry
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Biogeoscience