When we think of science fair food projects, most of us probably think of the bread mold project that has been done to death already. Well, here is one of our science fair food projects that look at more than only the fungus that grows on bread. There is still going to be bread in the mix though as we are going to grow a “fungus” garden.
Do you know why we can call it a fungus “garden?” Yes, because a fungus is a “plant” and it needs certain conditions to grow such as food, the same as all other kinds of “plants.” Keep in mind though that they are microorganisms and that the microbes are only visible when a lot of them gather together. This is what we normally call mold. Now we are going to see how many of them we can grow in our fungus “garden.”
For a good science fair project you have to make notes of all your steps, saying what you are doing and why you are doing it. You must formulate a hypothesis, and do the experiment according to the correct scientific method and think of your display. It is always a good idea to take photos as you go.
Because fungus can be harmful, do not take it to the fair, but take enough photos to use in your display. Make sure you show the different kinds of fungus clearly.
What you need for this experiment:
- 2 Empty clean and completely dry mayonnaise or other suitable jars with a lids
- 2 Pieces of bread
- 2 Pieces of apple
- 2 Pieces of cucumber
- 2 Pieces of cheese
- 2 Pieces of carrot
- 2 Pieces of any other kind of fruit available
- A little water
- A pen
- A notebook
- A camera
How to do your experiment:
- First of all formulate your hypothesis. It is that if the food is left undisturbed in the jar for some time, the food will rot and create a colorful fungus “garden.”
- Place one piece of all the food in one of the jars. Make sure you do not overfill the jar so that you will be able to see the fungus growing clearly.
- Now you have to sprinkle a little water in the jar and make sure you moisten all the food, do not soak it though.
- Do you know why you are doing this?
- Close the jar with the lid
- Place the jar on a counter top where it will not be disturbed and also out of direct sunlight.
- Now you do exactly the same with the second jar except you do not sprinkle any water on it.
- This jar will serve as your control and every time you observe the other jar and take photos of it, you have to do it with this jar as well.
- It is important that you now observe the changes that happen in the jar everyday.
- Record everything you see and take photos every day.
- Keep this up for at least two weeks and then ask an adult to dispose of the jar and it’s contents.
Now you have to formulate your results:
- How long did it take before you noticed the first fungus growing?
- How many different types of fungi were you able to grow in your fungus “garden?”
- Could you see more than one type of fungi growing on one kind of food?
- Did the fungi spread over time?
- Did the food change in shape or texture as the fungi grow?
- Did the fungi grow more on certain kinds of food than on others?
- Did the fungi grow slower or faster in your control jar?
- Remember, every step of the way, you have to make the same observations and take the same photos of your control jar as of the other jar
- Make sure you show the difference in the two jars very clearly