This is a wet lab that can be done in a unit on Evolution. The lab involves plating non-pathogenic bacteria on a Petri dish and adding a variety of antibiotic disks. Within 24-48 hours the bacteria will have produced a lawn - but there will be areas of no growth around the antibiotic disks (zones of inhibition). The bigger the zone, the more sensitive the bacteria are to that antibiotic.
The lab can be used to generate a broader discussion about the evolution of antibiotic resistance, natural selection, human behavior and its impact on public health as well as how this technique could be used to determine the best antibiotic to use if a patient is infected with an unknown strain of bacteria.
The lab procedure, a basic lab write-up/lab report and the general procedures for the lab are included. The lab can be modified for a host of grade levels; the lab I have included in this activity works well for middle school students as well as high school.
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