Cellular slime mold is an interesting teaching material for high school biology class, because it has a unique life cycle. However it is rarely used in high school biology class, because we need to prepare Eschericlia coli or other gram-negative bacteria as a feed to culture this material. In this paper, I describe the effectiveness of Bacillus natto, which is a common bacterium for making Natto, a popular fermentated food in Japan, as a feed to culture cellular slime mold. Before making the suspension of B. natto from Natto, Natto was kept in the chilled room (0~1°C) of a refrigerator. This step is essential to obtain sufficient spores of B. natto. Using the suspension of B. natto, I could easily culture various kind of cellular slime molds obtained from soils in various sites in Saitama Pref. as well as those reserved in the Laboratory of the National Science Museum in Japan.
The purpose of this study is to propose a new material for biological education which can be used in students’ field studies on plant distribution. Linaria canadensis (L.) Dum. Cours., a naturalized plant of Japan, has various educational value as a learning material in distributional inquiry and field activities. To develop new field activities and learning on L. canadensis, we investigated its distribution in Matsuyama City. We found 47 habitats of the species in spring 2001 and made a distribution map in which these habitats were plotted.
Using this distribution map, junior high school students were given an assignment to search their school area for L. canadensis. 53% of the students found this plant in their field activities. The teacher put the students’ data together and made a local distribution map. Based on their field experience and the distribution map, the students then inferred and discussed the reasons for the spread of the species. Questionnaire results from the students showed that the field study and the science lessons about the distribution of L. canadensis enhanced students’ pleasure of finding a naturalized plant and it also promoted their reflection on the environment in their neighborhood.