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Does Size Matter?

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Julie Hammari

on 4 February 2016

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Transcript of Does Size Matter?

Watch the following video comparing the size of a bacterium to other objects:
Background Info
Go to the following website and read pages 84-86 to read about these microorganisms. As you read, think about the size and function of these microorganisms:

Thoughts to Ponder
Why are bacteria and other microorganisms so small?

Is there a benefit?

How can they have such a simple structure?
Does size matter?
1 medium sized potato
Container (at least 1 ½ cups in size)
Warm water
Table salt
Food coloring--red and blue
(iodine works better, but food coloring is usually more readily available)
Time--Please keep in mind this task requires at least an 18-hour wait time to complete.

Make a hypothesis about how the liquid will be absorbed by the two cubes.
1. Take a container, fill with 1 cup warm water and completely dissolve 3 tablespoons of table salt. After salt has dissolved, add three drops of blue food coloring and three drops of red food coloring (you want it to be dark).

2. Cut a potato into two cubes, one cube with sides measuring 1 cm and the second cube measuring 3 cm. These potato cubes will represent different sized microorganisms.

3. Place potato cubes in dyed water and let sit for 18-24 hours.
Make a table to organize your data including the surface area, volume, and ratio of surface area to volume.

Does this change your hypothesis?

The following document shows the procedure and data table I would share with my class:


At this point, I would discuss with my class the differences between the two cubes including a ratio of surface area to volume for each cube.
Volume and Surface Area
The Task
The Math
Does Size Matter?
Connections and Conclusions
Does size matter after all?
You can also explore the site from the video above on your own: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cells/scale/
Go to the following padlet and provide your thoughts and conclusions on the following:
Is the size of a microorganism important?
What would be the benefit of having a small size?

Calculate the volume and surface area of each cube.


Surface Area:
Analyze the new hypothesis you made after finding the surface area and volume.

Remove potato cubes from the liquid and cut each in half. Measure the depth of the absorbed dye/liquid. Compare depth of absorption between the two cubes. Estimate the percent of the cube that has been penetrated by the dye.
Using information from the table you made, think about how the surface area to volume ratio would change as cubes increase in size. What effect would that have on being able to absorb materials from the surrounding environment?
This Prezi shows how I would present the information in this task to my class. Any comments I have for you are written in
Full transcript