Secondary Science - Microbes

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Driver et al. Making Sense of Secondary Science Education


     pg. 54-58

• Words and Concepts

  o	Words like: virus, gems, bacteria, bugs, microbe are all used interchangeably among adolescents.
  o	Only 9% of interviewed children knew there was a difference between viruses and bacteria
  o	The concept of germs is most likely introduced to children through media, dentist and doctor visits and folklore

• Microbes as Living Things

  o	Students often characterize microbes as microscopically small, light and floating in air.
  o	They do not have a concept of how they live or reproduce

• Microbes and Disease

  o	Children can often identify all illness to “germs” without any distinction to contagious and noncontiguous illnesses.
  o	Often folklore can lead to misconceptions. Example the term “cold” seems to make reference to the environmental conditions in which the illness occurs, as opposed to the illness be the result of a microbe.
  o	Most people are ignorant that antibiotics only work against bacterial infections. They believe antibiotics to be a fix all for serious illnesses.
  o	Antibiotics is often confused with antibodies

• Decay and Recycling

  o	Many students do not understand the important roles of microbes, and would like to eliminate all microbes if possible.

• Biotechnology

  o	Some students believe that bacteria are only useful when dead, so it can be made into vaccines.
  o	The process of sterilization can be difficult because students do not see microbes as living if they are not on the hands, in the air, or causing disease. When sterilizing during a lab be sure to explain to students about contamination and how bacteria can be found on the surface of glass and inoculating tubes.
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