Fourth Graders Make Mold Terrariums

Colonial School District  |  Posted on

Fourth grader Lori Flannery shares her Mold Terrarium with the rest of the class. 

In science, fourth graders at Colonial Elementary School (CES) are exploring the ecosystem and started at the bottom of the food chain with “mold terrariums.”

Click here for a video.

The students put various foods on a paper plate, put the plate in a plastic bag and then watched the mold grow over time.

“Today, we had our 12th day of observing mold terrariums,” said CES fourth grader Juliet Tizer. “It’s been a fun experience. It’s been a cringy experience, but it was fun.”

The students learned how mold is a “decomposer” that attaches to food and other dead matter in the ecosystem and breaks it down into soil that can grow new life. For the classroom’s four mold terrariums, they added sugar to one, salt to one, started with a dirty table for one, and left the other one unchanged. Then, they documented the daily progress for each condition. Teacher Shannon Stulb got closeups of the terrariums using a document camera so everyone could see. 

Lori Flannery also shared her own mold terrarium from home and got feedback from others in the class. One student pointed out that her strawberry was almost completely unrecognizable, while another noticed that the tomato still looked pretty good. 

“I’ve never really observed mold before, because I never really thought it would be interesting,” said CES fourth grader Sammy Monastero. “But now since I’ve observed it in my class, I think it’s pretty cool.”

With their new understanding of mold, the fourth graders will now be moving up the food chain to observe another potentially “cringy” contributor to the ecosystem: worms.