Healthy Schools! Healthy Kids! logo Rhode Island Food Safety Lessons
  Lesson 1
     Pre/Post Test
  Lesson 1A Laboratory
     Pre/Post Test
     Lab Outline
     Data Table
  Lesson 1B Laboratory
     Pre/Post Test
     Data Table
  Lesson 2
     Pre/Post Test
     Case Sheet
     Updates &    Clues
     5 "Ws" and    the "How"
     Scientist Tools
  Lesson 3
     Pre/Post Test
     5 of the Most    Wanted
  Lesson 4
     Pre/Post Test
     Web Quest 
     Points of    Controversy
  Lesson 5
     Pre/Post Test
     Role Play
     Regulations &    Inspectors 
  Teacher Evaluation

High School Food Safety Lessons

Lesson 1 Bacteria Everywhere
Laboratory Lesson
National Health Education Standards
(grades 9-11) 1:1; 1:5
Time: One 45 minute laboratory period with similar period to follow, if desired.
teacher note
This lesson is discrete and can be taught as a single lesson or in conjunction with others in this series. The Teacher Resources include pre-and post-tests for this lesson; these may be used at the teacher's discretion. The lesson includes two activities.
Student Learning Objectives
  1. Students will be challenged to hypothesize about where most bacteria are found.
  2. Students will develop an awareness that bacteria are everywhere and that various surfaces might have different levels of organisms.
  3. Students will learn how to work safely with bacteria.
  4. Students will be prepared to continue the study of food safety by starting with these two laboratory experiments, if two lessons are used.
Required materials
For the class
  • Dissecting microscope or hand lens to view microbial colonies
  • Additional sterile Petri dishes with nutrient agar and covers for expanded tests
  • Disinfecting solution to disinfect lab surfaces (20 ml of liquid household bleach in 1 L of tap water)
  • Food Safety A to Z Reference Guide * (See the following terms—Bacteria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Deoxyribonucleic Acid, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Farm-to-Table Continuum, Foodborne Illness, Four Steps to Food Safety, Pathogen, pH.) Also see the 4Cs section beginning on page 54.
  • Science and Our Food Supply: Investigating Food Safety from Farm to Table: Teacher's Guide for High School Level Science Classrooms (2001)*

For each team of 3 to 4 students

  • Prepare or order three sterile Petri dishes containing nutrient agar for each team of three to four students. You may want to order extra plates for students who want to test additional areas. Note: Petrifilm ™ plates can be used instead of Petri dishes. The 3M™ Petrifilm™ Plates ( start-up package contains everything you need to begin doing your own experiment testing. All you do is inoculate, incubate, and count. No tubes, dishes, media are needed. To order contact Flinn Scientific, Inc. (,, 800-452-1261); Carolina Biological Supply Company (, 800-334-5551 ext. 6418) or Connecticut Valley Biological Supply Company (, 800-628-7748).
  • Sterilize (boil) two cups of tap water for each team. You can boil the water in beakers and then cover with aluminum foil until ready to use. Students will use the water to wet swabs for testing dry surfaces.
  • Photocopy the Lab Report Outline for each student.
  • Photocopy the Bacteria Everywhere Data Table for each team.
teacher note

This lesson was drawn from the first module in Science and Our Food Supply: Investigating Food Safety from Farm to Table: Teacher's Guide for High School Science Classroom (National Science Teacher's Association, (703)243-7100).

This innovative and supplemental curriculum introduces students to the fundamentals of microbiology while at the same time imparting important public health information.

The curricula found in Science Our Food Supply were developed in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The curricula that you will be using includes two laboratory lessons and five public health lessons. In different formats, these lessons are in Science and Our Food Supply. The lessons have all been tested by an experienced team of middle level teachers and meet National Science Education Standards.

*Permission has been granted in advance for the reproduction of these print materials in their entirety.
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