Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this Virtual Labs lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students are placed on food safety patrol.They must the use UV light in the online interactive to detect mold on corn, then test to see if it contains a toxin that could make people sick.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Use an online interactive tool to test for corn mold.


This lesson plan utilizes an NMSU interactive called Testing for Corn Mold. Through the virtual lab, students will examine a sample of corn under black light to see if it glows. Then, they'll grind up the corn, prepare a solution, and use a test strip to determine whether aflatoxin is present. Students will practice using a pipette, adding solvent to extract toxins, diluting a solution, and maintaining consistent procedures. In the process, they'll learn some important science lab vocabulary. We encourage you to preview both the BrainPOP movie and game in advance to plan how they can be adapted for your students' needs.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Food Safety movie for the class.
  2. Talk with students about why it is important to test food for toxicity and how that process is completed. Explain that corn that is intended for consumption by humans or animals must be tested for the presence of the dangerous Aspergillus mold, which produces a toxin.
  3. Project the Testing for Corn Mold Interactive for the class to see. Have student volunteers complete the first part of the interactive as you help them make connections to prior learning and learn how to utilize the interactive.
  4. Provide 10-15 minutes for students to complete the interactive on their own computer. Alternatively, you can have students work with a partner.
  5. If possible, allow students to conduct a similar chemistry investigation in the science lab.

Extension Activities:

Be sure to check out the other Virtual Labs games on GameUp!