A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n


Molds are tiny microscopic plants that can help or hurt us. Molds like some environmental conditions better than others. Find out which ones they prefer by watching mold grow.

What you'll need

Grown-up alert!

3 cups containing a little coffee or leftover food.
Your magnifying glass.
Your science journal.

What to do

  1. Put 1 cup with coffee or leftover food on a sunny windowsill, 1 in the refrigerator, and 1 in a dark cupboard.

    Look inside the cups every day for several days and write down what you see. Your magnifying glass will help. (It may take a few days for the mold to start growing.)

  2. Does temperature affect the mold's growth? See if the cup left on the windowsill grows mold

    more slowly,
    more quickly, or
    at the same rate as the one in the refrigerator.

  3. Does light affect the growth of the mold?

    Does the cup on the windowsill grow mold at the same rate as the one in a dark cupboard?

  4. Look around your home for other molds. Inspect:

    Pickles in a jar
    Cottage cheese
    Paint on the walls
    House plants
    Tiles around the bathtub or shower.

  5. Are the molds all the same color, or are they different?
We can find molds in all sorts of unexpected places. Unlike green plants, they can't make their own food from sunlight. Instead, they live directly off of what they are growing on.

Molds can be a nuisance when they settle on our food or possessions. But molds are also useful. The green spots on old oranges are penicillin mold. This is what the medicine is made from.

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