Winogradsky Column – Montessori Style

Putting mud in the Winogradsky column.

Since we’ve been discussing a time before multi-celled organisms, we thought it would be fun to explore all manner of DNA and eukaryotic cells.  One of our outlets is the Winogradsky Column.  It is a way of cultivating lots of different types of bacteria.   Both aerobic and anaerobic respiration take place in a slurry of mud, pond water, egg, and newspaper encased in a 2 liter bottle.  It takes about a month for all the different species of bacteria to create their various strata.

History

Sergei Winogradsky  pioneered the idea that certain bacteria can photosynthesize food. He discovered that if he created a column of various substances then various types of microorganisms can be grown.  Oxygen moves downward while various bacterial by-products move upward in the column.

Because different Microbes eat different items, the microbes can recycle waste from other microbes and items from nature to keep the environment surviving.  One of the building blocks of nature is sulfur – we use egg to provide sulfur to the system.

Some bacteria thrive in aerobic environments while others need chemicals found in an anaerobic environment.Winogradsky Columns allow for the visualization of these different bacteria. The incubation of the bacteria for weeks allows various colonies to grown.  The colors of the chemicals the various bacteria need to survive color them brilliant hues.

Needless to say.  We had to do it.  We didn’t realize that this was not supposed to be age appropriate to our group.  Oh well.  Don’t tell the kids.

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Filed under Biology, BW, DW, gardening, Geography and World Studies, God With No Hands, Practical Life - Elementary, Science

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