Unless you have a gluten allergy, bread is most likely a staple in your home pantry or refrigerator. Not only is bread scrumptious to eat, but it is fun to play with -- for science experiments, of course. Use this easily accessible household item to fulfil school projects related to mould. You can perform these experiments at home or bring the bread into your school classroom for student observations.
The Moldiest Bread
Study the rate in which mould grows on various types of breads to make a conclusion about which breads produce mould the fastest. Choose four or five breads, such as white, whole wheat, sourdough and cinnamon raisin. Make sure that each slice of bread is maintained in the same testing conditions so that variables do not skew the experiment. Put a slice of each type of bread into a brown paper bag and place it in a dark corner. Check on the breads daily by opening up the bag, visually inspecting the bread for mould and documenting how much mould each slice contains. You can also take pictures of each slice of bread every day to put together a timeline picture collage. Study the bread slices for five days and see which ones mould the fastest. Hypothesise about why you think certain breads mould faster or slower than others.
Where Mold Likes To Grow
In this project, students can determine where mould likes to grow the best based on a selection of testing environments. Take three slices of bread from the same loaf. Put one slice into a brown paper bag, add a few drops of water and place the bag in a dark corner of the kitchen or room. Put the second slice into a brown paper bag and stick it into the fridge. The third slice goes into a brown paper bag, does not get any water added and is left in a dark corner. Monitor the moldiness of the different breads for four or five days, taking note of which breads are moulding the fastest. At the end of the experiment, you will find that the bread with the water added moulded the fastest and the bread in the fridge moulded at the slowest rate. Write a response about why the various conditions had different effects on the mould.
Growing Bread Mold
Teach students that bread mould spores exist in suspended air and can drop to the floor or onto objects as dust. For the project, have students use a cotton swab to pick up dust from the floor. Trace the cotton swab over a slice of bread, exposing the bread to the spores that were collected, but remain invisible to the naked eye. Add five or six drops of water to the bread and seal it in an airtight bag. Leave the bread alone and come back to it in a few days to review the results. Students will find that mould has grown over the sliced bread, which is a process known as germination.
The Preservatives Factor
This project educates students about how preservatives prolong the shelf life of bread. You will need one loaf of preservative-free bread and another loaf of bread with preservatives. Add some drops of water to each loaf and seal them up identically. Put both loaves in a dark pantry or closet and check on them each day to see which loaf of bread is moulding the fastest. Have students identify why the loaf without the preservatives is the first to mould.