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Ryan Duffy

Biology (Honors)
Period 9
March 5th, 2007

Bacteria can grow anywhere

Purpose- The purpose of this experiment is to determine where in the classroom bacteria is flourishing.

Hypothesis- If we gather samples of a light switch's bacteria and the cabinet's bacteria, then the light
switch's bacteria will be more evident because more people touch it.

Independent Variable: people touching the light switch and the cabinet
Dependent Variable: bacterial growth
Controlled Variables: temperature, time, class sample as a control

• petri dish pre-filled with sterile nutrient agar
• cotton swabs (sterilized)
• glass-marking pencil
• parafilm


1. Begin with plate two. Gather materials.

2. Swab two sources (light switch and cabinet).
3. Dab the cotton swabs in the petri dish.
4. put the cap on the petri dish.
5. Seal the petri dish, make sure the parafilm is tight along the edges so no bacteria will enter or
6. after two weeks, study the bacteria

This lab basically experiments with the amount of bacteria in a normal classroom. The teacher
left her petri dish wide open to the air, eventually sealing it. She had many instances of bacteria in it,
which could mean one of two things: theres a lot of bacteria in the air, or the dishes were not
completely cleaned. Our plate had bacteria in small parts all over, and two large spots of bacteria as
well. The light switch didn't have much bacteria on it, but the cabinet had much more then the light
switch. This could be because the light switch is only touched by the teacher twice a day, but the
cabinet is touched a little bit more, usually during labs, when you could have chemicals on your hands.
The class had the same general data. For the most part, the microorganisms develop in places where
people touch more often. The highest bacteria areas would probably be the floor (because of constant
dirty shoes) and the desks (constant dirty student hands).

In conclusion, our previously stated hypothesis was nearly incorrect. I said that the light switch
would have more bacteria on it because more people touch it. This is incorrect because according to my
data, the cabinet had much more bacteria on it then the light switch. Using my research above, I
believe it will be extremely challenging to keep clean from bacteria. Bacteria is everywhere. The best
way to try and keep clean is to use disinfectent soap constantly, but in theory, that will create a super-
bacteria that is resistant to it, eventually developing into a resistant colony of bacterias.