Dance like Bacteria Wonder with Me! Embracing Microbiology through Science and Art from Primary School to University


  • John D.I. Harper CSU
  • Celia R. Connor CSU
  • Dominique Sweeney CSU
  • Zoë Hadler CSU
  • Tricia Warrington CSU
  • Thiru Vanniasinkam CSU



The literature tells us that art can enhance the teaching of science. We have used some of these documented strategies in our teaching of microbiology in primary - and high school outreach and in our microbiology classes at university. We have blended art and science in a variety of ways (e.g. dancing and telling stories) to provide our students with richer, more memorable learning experiences. Primary school students were treated to a day of immersion in microbiology where songs, animations, peer learning, art and baking became integral to their learning. For high school outreach, we imagined time travel and invited university acting students to play scientists telling their stories from history to bring to life ‘moments’ in microbiology. At university, first-year students danced like bacteria to reinforce the types of movement and appendages that some bacteria have. Humour, poetry, songs and mnemonics were also used to not only enhance learning but to remind students that learning is fun and encompasses all aspects of life. We continue to explore a transdiciplinarity approach were the boundaries between disciplines are blurred and the artist becomes a scientist and vice versa on a creative holistic learning journey of discovery.






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