Microbiology with Brownies & Guides

In summer 2012 I was invited to 24th Kingswood Warmley Brownies and Guides to develop a microbiology badge with them.

Brownies and Guides already have ‘science’ badge opportunities but most of the activities involved are Physics and Chemistry based and the tiny microbes that take up so much of the world around us don’t currently get a look in! I wanted to change this.

I put together a range of activities for both the Brownies and Guides that covered lots of different types of microbes, both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ kind.

Bacteria, made by 34 Warmley Brownies

Bacteria, made by 24th Kingswood Warmley Brownies

With the Brownies we made cuddly bacteria (some of which were very imaginatively decorated!), flavoured our own yoghurts while learning that bacteria are used to make them and blew up balloons using the power of yeast.

The Guides designed menus where every course had to include a food type made by or with the help of microbes. They not only used yeast to blow up balloons but also BBQ’d bread dough that had risen thanks to the help of yeast. Finally they also made cuddly bacteria (equally imaginatively decorated).

At the end of each session we also played microbe-related games including ‘Simon says’ where Simon, rather than saying “Stand on would leg” would say “bacillus” and the girls had to form the shape of a bacillus bacterium (so had to stand straight with their hands up in the air).

I had great fun running the sessions and I hope the girls did too.

Many thanks to both the girls (over 50 of them were involved), and to the leaders for letting me trial the badge and for all their help.

The badge and resource will now be promoted by these units: other units both locally and nationally will be able to download the badge resource and so more girls will get the opportunity to do some microbe-related activities.

Guide-bacteria

Bacteria, made by 24th Kingswood Warmley Guides

2 comments for “Microbiology with Brownies & Guides

  1. Ian Donaldson
    25 May, 2013 at 8:25 am

    How long does it take to blow up a balloon with CO2 from yeast ? And does it need the warmth of an airing-cupboard ? This makes a useful second biological demo for me, after the mono-molecular layer one using ear-wax.

  2. Ian Donaldson
    25 May, 2013 at 8:29 am

    How long does it take to blow up a balloon with CO2 from yeast ? And does it need the warmth of an airing-cupboard ? This makes a useful additional biological demonstration, for generally they are thin on the ground.

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