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Breaking the Mold
Lesson Plans Asthma Survey | Indoor Air: What's the Matter?
Dust Busters to the Rescue | Unfolding the Mystery of Mold
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Unfold the Mystery of Mold

Lesson Goals:

Students will practice the scientific method of developing a hypothesis, researching it, testing it, and forming conclusions based on research and test results. Their investigations will help them better understand the conditions in which molds thrive.

Curriculum Connections:


  • Understands the nature of scientific inquiry

  • Understands that questioning and open communication are integral to the process of science (e.g., scientists often differ with one another about the interpretation of evidence; scientists acknowledge conflicting interpretations and work towards finding evidence that will resolve the disagreement)

  • Knows that there is no fixed procedure called "the scientific method," but that investigations involve systematic observations, carefully collected, relevant evidence, logical reasoning, and some imagination in developing hypotheses and explanations

  • Conducts a scientific investigation (e.g., formulates hypotheses, executes investigations, interprets data, synthesizes evidence into explanations, proposes alternative explanations for observations, critiques explanations and procedures)

  • Uses appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret scientific data

  • Establishes relationships based on evidence and logical argument (e.g., provides causes for effects)

Video Tie-In:

Drama as a whole-models the process Kee goes through to solve her problem while reinforcing the idea that controlling humidity/moisture levels (especially in warm climates) can help prevent mold and mold-related illnesses.

Glossary Terms:

data, hypothesis, humidity, mold, monitoring, temperature

Time Required:

One 30-minute class period to set up experiment. Several minutes each day for a week for students to record data. One 30-minute class period to discuss conclusions.

Activity Overview:

Molds can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. But what conditions are most favorable for mold spores to reproduce? In this activity, students will grow bread mold under several different environmental conditions where the variables include temperature and moisture levels. Before the experiment, students will be asked to form a hypothesis about the best conditions for growing mold. After the mold-growing experiment, students will form their conclusions and present their results to the class.


  • bread
  • Plastic bags with zipper seals


  1. Reproduce and distribute the Unfolding the Mystery of Mold worksheet to students.

  2. Divide students into small groups of three or four.

  3. Instruct each group to label three plastic bags with the letters A, B, and C and put a piece of bread in each bag.

  4. Have students seal bag A and put it in a dark place.

  5. Seal bag B and place it in the refrigerator.

  6. Have students put several drops of water in bag C, seal it tightly, and put it in a dark place.

  7. Give students a few minutes each day to monitor their bread samples and record any changes in the way the food looks on their data charts.

  8. After about a week, invite groups to present their observations and conclusions to the class.

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