Easel by TpT

Bacteria Inquiry Yogurt Lab

Grade Levels
4th - 9th
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Compatible with 
8 pages
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Need to introduce the concept of cells or review the characteristics of life before you jump into bacteria? Check out my highly popular Intro to Cells Reading Passage!

Moving on to Eukaryotes next? Reinforce student vocabulary with The Nucleus: A Science Reading Passage!

What is this Product?

This product guides students in designing and carrying out an inquiry lab using yogurt, a microscope, and background knowledge of bacteria. Students first read or watch some informational texts to gather information about how yogurt is made, and then describe that process, including the role of bacteria, in their own words.

Next, students explore available yogurt samples and record their characteristics, including present bacteria strains and other information (fat-free, flavored, etc.). They then develop some testable questions that they might seek to answer about bacteria using these yogurt samples and a microscope. Finally, students plan and carry out an investigation to answer one of the questions they developed.

What is Included?

  • Pre-Lab page where students gather background knowledge about the yogurt-making process and available yogurt samples
  • Lab brainstorming and planning pages
  • Data collection page
  • Results and conclusion page

How Can I Use This Product?

Students in my class complete this lab early on in our bacteria unit, after they've been introduced to basic concepts but well before any final assessment.

I provide students with anywhere from 6-10 different types and/ or brands of yogurt (the individual cups were more than enough for 100+ students), and I try to select a range of fat free, low-fat, whole fat, greek, icelandic, and australian styles. I stick to white-colored yogurts (vanilla, coconut, etc.) with no added fruit chunks so students can more easily stain and view the samples.

Students are encouraged to think outside the box with their testable question ideas, and I have occasionally provided additional materials per student request such as antibacterial disinfectant products, access to a microwave and freezer, etc., depending on what students wish to test.

Students really enjoy this lab and gain some interesting insights about bacteria and their optimal living conditions. In total, from student planning to bringing in materials and conducting the lab, this takes about 2-3 hour-long class periods.

Total Pages
8 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells. Emphasis is on developing evidence that living things are made of cells, distinguishing between living and non-living cells, and understanding that living things may be made of one cell or many and varied cells.
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways the parts of cells contribute to the function. Emphasis is on the cell functioning as a whole system and the primary role of identified parts of the cell, specifically the nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, cell membrane, and cell wall. Assessment of organelle structure/function relationships is limited to the cell wall and cell membrane. Assessment of the function of the other organelles is limited to their relationship to the whole cell. Assessment does not include the biochemical function of cells or cell parts.


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