A mold is the term used for all microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. Hyphae are the main mode of vegetative growth in fungus. However, fungi that grow as single cells are called yeasts. This experiment enables the children see and learn in what conditions the molds grow in best. In this experiment, we need 4 slices of bread, water, any airtight covering, magnifying glass, a notebook and 1 to 2 weeks experiment time.
Get a piece of bread that is a few days old but make sure that it is not stale. Cut the bread in half. Expose the first half in the air while seal the other half in an airtight container.
Get another piece of bread and cut it in half. Place one half in the dark, like inside a paper bag or a cupboard. Leave the other half in strong light. A place where the sunlight hits directly is the best.
Take the third piece of bread and again, slice it in half. Make sure that the first half is very dry while we the other half with approximately one half teaspoon of water. Do not forget to spritz the wet bread with water each day.
Take the last piece of bread for this experiment. Cut it again and leave the first half in a place that is warm and dark. You can place it inside a paper bag and leave it on top of the refrigerator as the top gets warm. As for the other half, find a place that is cold and dark. So, put the bread in a paper bag and leave it inside the refrigerator.
Examine the samples everyday. In the first few days, it is advisable that you use a magnifying glass to clearly see the action of the fungi on the bread.
Molds will certainly develop in all the pieces of bread. It is only the how and where the bread is stored that affects the length of time that the molds will appear. Molds love to thrive in warm, dark and moist areas.
Let us now examine what happened to all our bread samples. In sample 1, the bread exposed in the air acquired molds quickly than the one in the airtight container. In sample 2, the bread kept inside the paper bag developed molds quickly than the one in left in direct sunlight. Sample 3 had one moist bread and one dry bread. The dry bread developed molds slower than the moist one. And as for the last sample that had one half of the bread left in a dark and warm place while the other half in a dark and cold place, the one on top of the refrigerator developed molds quickly than the one inside the refrigerator. Through this, we have learned how and where to safely store our food to delay the development of molds.
Take the experiment a step further by experimenting with other kinds of food. Be very careful in doing this experiment, though. Some people may be allergic to molds. Please take the necessary precautions. And always remember to write down your observations in your notebook.