10th grade students majoring in biology at Fazekas Mihály High School, Debrecen and 11th grade students attending biology faculty at Lónyai Street Calvinist High School, Budapest visited our university to gain insight into the world of bacteriology. The collaboration was facilitated by dr. László Makrai and dr. Gergely Tóth from the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest.
The practical room of the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases was filled several times during the winter by groups of interested high school students to put on a white lab coat for two and a half hours. The goal of the practices was to supplement high school theoretical studies with practical knowledge that could help even with their career choices in the future.
The lessons started with the introduction of the University, its history and courses, after that students got instructions to ensure the safe usage of laboratory equipment.
Under the guidance of Dr. Gergely Tóth, the students examined the unknown bacterial cultures which were provided – observed their colonial morphology, performed biochemical tests like Gram staining, and identified the bacteria. During the examinations, students had the opportunity to acquire simple bacteriological laboratory techniques and identification procedures: the professional usage of inoculation loop, Bunsen burner, high-resolution microscopes, the types of agar plates and so on.
To make the practice even more personal and memorable, participants had the opportunity to take samples of the bacterial flora from their hands and mouths, as well as examine the number of bacteria in the air of the practical room. The cultures produced by the students were further developed by the university staff and the results were passed on to the schools in a photographic format. At the end of the lesson, students could take home the secured, closed samples they made.