Bacteria Science Fair Project Ideas

Middle school students (or mature elementary kids) can have fun doing a science fair project with a bacteria growth kit. This article gives students ideas for a good bacteria hypothesis to test. Before you start the project read Easy Science Fair Project Template.

Bacteria Growing Kit With Petri Dishes

Before the fun starts, students will need to get a bacteria test kit. Bacteria science kits can be ordered online or purchased in hobby or educational stores. Search online for bacteria growth science kit. A number of online science sites sell kits for about $15. When you get the experiment kit it should include, at least 6 dishes, cotton swabs, agar (special gelatin used to grow bacteria), a beaker and a guide or instructions.

The basic bacteria test kit will measure bacteria growth (quantity) but not the specific type of bacteria growth. Most bacteria will grow in about 5-7 days, however, allow up to 20 days. Time the science fair project accordingly. Recording the quantity of bacteria should include photos, drawings and clear descriptions. Save samples for the presentation day, but discard all bacteria when the project is complete.

Bacteria Experiments for Science Fair Project (Grades 5-8)

Testing bacteria is fun, fascinating and can be disgusting. That might be what makes germs and bacteria an appealing science fair topic. Students can test bacteria in fun and silly places or perform a serious test to find out about keeping humans germ-free. Kids can pick one of the following ideas or be inspired and choose one on their own.

  • Antibacterial soap reduces (or does not reduce) the quantity of bacteria on hands.
  • Vinegar is just as effective as antibacterial cleaner at removing bacteria from a cutting board.
  • There is more bacteria in a public washroom than a private bathroom.
  • There is more bacteria in the first stall of a public bathroom than the last stall.
  • When chips are double-dipped (bitten and reinserted) in a dip, it becomes contaminated with bacteria.
  • There is more (or less) bacteria in a dog's mouth than a human's mouth.
  • Compare bacteria growth on several surfaces (cellphone, school keyboard, water fountain, bus hand rail. benches at the mall, play structure at McDonalds). Then write a hypothesis (guess) that you can test.
  • Food is more contaminated when it stays on the floor for 5 minutes, then 5 seconds (test the 5 second rule).
  • A kitchen sink sponge has more bacteria than a dirty floor mop.
  • Water in water bottles gets contaminated from saliva back-wash.
  • Mouthwash kills bacteria in a person's mouth. Test several times on several people. Students can test different brands of mouthwash too.
  • A prepared sandwich can be left in the fridge for 3 days without growing bacteria.
  • There is more bacteria in a person's mouth than on his/her hands.
  • A public bathroom's outside doorknob has less bacteria than the inside doorknob. Test several times in several bathrooms.
  • The most expensive brand is the most effective at killing bacteria. Test different brands of antibacterial hand washes and find out whether money buys effectiveness.

Germs and bacteria are all around us and make a great topic for science projects. Bacteria growth kits are inexpensive and readily available for kids. With a good hypothesis and the correct format, bacteria experiments can make impressive winning science fair projects.