- Have the child or children select one of the chosen foods. They can then place the piece of food in one of the airtight containers, as is. Have them seal the container further with the duct tape; you want to make sure that as little air as possible can get in to the container. Have them place another batch of food pieces in containers that are not well sealed.
- The child or children should do the same with a variety of food pieces. Have them dampen some of the pieces first.
- After the individual items are sealed sufficiently in the containers and with the duct or masking tape, make a label for each container. They should try to make the label as detailed as possible; i.e. they should include things like the name of the item, the date, whether any water was applied, etc.
- Place some of the sealed containers in a dark, cool place, such as a closet. Have another group of containers placed somewhere with a lot of direct light, such as a patio or sun room.
- Explain to the child or children that the experiment does take a little time. Have them get out a calendar and count out one week from the day’s date and mark it with an X. Tell them that when that day arrives, it will be time to look at what has happened to the pieces of food.
- When the time comes, have the child(ren) gather up all of the containers. Also, have them make a chart on some paper. The chart should include such things as: item name, sealed or unsealed, wet or dry, location (dark or light), and description. Have the child(ren) examine each item closely so they can make excellent and detailed observations.
Have the child(ren) fill out the chart for each of the items. Then you can help them make some deductions based on their observations. For example, you could ask them whether the food in the sealed container has as much mold as the food in the unsealed container? What does this tell you about how mold grows? You can ask the same kind of questions about whether the item was damp or not, and what that means about water and mold growth.