Activity: Germs in Floodwater
Floodwater is dangerous. It can cause injuries and drowning. Floodwater also contains contaminants such as chemicals, road "run-off" and sewage (waste from toilets and sinks). Sewage can contain bacteria and viruses, which cause diseases.
Floodwater can also cause mold to grow. Mold is a furry-looking fungus. It can grow on items including food, clothing and furniture that come in contact with water for a long time. Mold likes warm, moist places to grow. Too much mold can make people sick. People with certain types of allergies are also sickened by molds.
With the help of an adult you can grow mold. The mold you will grow is bread mold; however, ask for permission from an adult before you do this activity because some people are allergic to molds.
Before You Start
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after this experiment.
- Do not eat any materials from the experiment.
You Will Need
- A plastic sandwich bag with a "zipper"
- A slice of bread
- Dampen the slice of bread with the water.
- Place the bread in a sandwich bag and seal it.
- Place the sandwich bag with the bread in it in a warm, dark place.
- After two weeks, observe the bread, but do not take the bread out of the bag.
- When the experiment is over, dispose of the bread while it is still in the bag.
After two weeks, the bread should start to grow a greenish-blue or black mold. Different types of mold can grow on furniture, clothing and other items after they come in contact with floodwater. This is why it is very important to clean up thoroughly after a flood and to throw away any food that has come in contact with the floodwater.