Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this laboratory practices lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use an online interactive to practice maintaining a sterile laboratory environment. Students will practice using disposable equipment to test milk samples for harmful bacteria and draw conclusions from their results.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explain the importance of maintaining a sterile lab environment.
  2. Use a virtual lab to practice using disposable equipment.


  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP


This lesson plan utilizes an NMSU interactive called Disposable Lab Equipment. Through the interactive, students will learn about maintaining a sterile environment in the laboratory, and ensuring that an experiment is not contaminated. In the first half of the interactive, students will practice using special disposable equipment to perfect their lab skills while testing milk samples of pasteurized and raw milk for harmful bacteria, inoculating petri film with samples and then incubating the bacteria. Finally, they'll count the resulting bacteria colonies and draw conclusions from what they see. In the second half of the interactive, students will investigate the origin of the bacteria by swabbing surfaces at the dairy to see if they are contaminated.

The interactive is a great way to introduce students to expectations for using a science lab. You can use this lesson at the beginning of the school year, or later on to reinforce best practices.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Why is it important to maintain a sterile lab environment? Ask students to free write or discuss this topic with a partner.
  2. Tell students that they will be participating in a virtual lab centered around bacteria. Project the Disposable Lab Equipment Interactive for the class to see. You may want to complete the initial portions of the interactive as a class so you can facilitate discussion and model how to navigate the interactive.
  3. Allow students to complete the interactive on a computer with a partner. Encourage students to take notes on science lab best practices so that they are prepared to discuss what they learned afterward.
  4. Bring students back to a whole class discussion. Revisit the initial question, and have students discuss how they cared for the disposable lab equipment in the interactive. How is the interactive similar to real life laboratory experiments? What are the implications for labs students will be conducting throughout the year?
  5. Have students take the game quiz to assess their learning.