For ages 14-16: It's the small things in life

In the 14–16 age range, students will explore chicken and human health in relation to microorganisms. To do this, they will learn and use microbiological techniques to examine the microbial load of chicken meat. Then they will carry out a survey into chicken consumption, look at alternative protein sources and explore chicken husbandry at home and globally.

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Part 1 - Why cook your chicken?

What effects do the microorganisms in our gut have on our health? How are microorganisms transferred between species?

This two-part investigation examines the microbial load carried by raw and cooked chicken, a common source of protein in human diets, as an introduction to the microbiomes of different species and their significance in human health and sickness.

Students will use yeast as a safe proxy to investigate the importance of cooking chicken thoroughly to minimise the risk of food poisoning.

Part 1 - Why cook your chicken? resources

    Teacher notes
    Technician notes
    Student activities
    It's the small things powerpoint
    Chickens and Campylobacter – the farm story video transcript
    Chickens and Campylobacter - the lab story video transcript
    Chickens and Campylobacter – the farm story
    Chickens and Campylobacter – the lab story
    Delivery Guidance Part 1
    Chicken and cross-contamination
    Chicken and cross-contamination video transcript

Part 2 - Chicken and... microbes?

This experiment investigates the numbers of microbes carried by pieces of raw and cooked chicken. Chicken is often eaten by humans for protein, and the contacts between humans and chickens mean that their microbiomes – the microbes that live on and inside each species – can affect us.

Students will complete their investigations by comparing the viability of yeast that has been heat-treated in water baths to represent the effect of cooking.

Part 2 - Chicken and microbes? resources

    Teacher notes Part 2
    Technician notes Part 2
    Student activities Part 2
    Another case of poisoning
    Truth about Campylobacter
    Delivery Guidance Part 2

14-16 Additional resources

    Secondary 14-16 Teacher Guide
    Teacher notes Chicken and Campylobacter
    Teacher notes Chicken or chickpeas
    Teacher notes The perils and power of microbes
    Student activities Chicken and Campylobacter
    Student activities Chicken or chickpeas
    Student activities The perils and power of microbes
    The perils and power of microbes powerpoint
    More to explore Chicken

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