Microbes Are Our Friends! 

We’ve had such a great time this month with U.C. Merced professor Dr. Carolin Frank and her grad student, Paola. If you’d like to read more about how and what we’ve been studying, please copy and paste the below URL into your browser! It will take you to an article in the Sierra Sun Times about the beginning stages of our class experiment.

http://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/11559-sierra-foothill-charter-school-partners-with-uc-merced-to-help-with-national-science-foundation-grant

Since the initial stages of this experiment, we studied the parts of the scientific method more thoroughly in class. Our hypothesis was that anti-bacterial soap would kill more bacteria than normal soap. Our results differed from the hypothesis, however. After we gave the microbes a couple of days to colonize in the petri dishes, we were surprised to find that the anti-bacterial soap actually killed significantly less bacteria than the normal soap.

When Dr. Frank visited the class to discuss the results last week, she explained that these results were surprising to both her and her student, Paola. Upon researching more on anti-bacterial soap together, they learned that the FDA was concerned that certain chemicals in anti-bacterial soap were not only harmful to humans, but also ineffective in killing microbes. Our class’ findings may support the FDA’s claim as well.

Dr. Frank explained that the “negative results” don’t deem our experiment unsuccessful; she encourages her students at U.C. Merced to embrace and learn more from their false hypotheses as well. The fifth and sixth graders were glad to have Dr. Frank explain the results in further detail.

As a class, we have learned so much about the scientific method, especially when learning more from unexpected results!

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