It's a Small World
4 9 2019
It's a Small World

Water, Flour and Microscopes

The young volunteers from the junior team at the Festival are more than ready to tell us about the workshops held at the Casa del Mantegna, which are dedicated to our younger guests.

What are microbes? Some people say with conviction that they are "things that make us sick", others insist that they are "little creatures that you can't see". This is how a very unusual cooking workshop for children starts. The ingredients? Yeast, yogurt, sugar and bags of curiosity, all seasoned with a couple of microscopes and test tubes.

First of all, each child gave their own interpretation, drawing their own imaginary microbes in the most varied shapes and sizes: there are little worms with one eye, hairy spheres, little flowers, machines with antennas and much more. But if microbes are small enough to be invisible, how do you know what shape they have? And how do you know they're there? There is one way, or rather a couple.

You pour sweetened water into two jars, Caio and Simone, close them with two balloons and... magic happens! One of them inflates, Caio to be precise, which contains yeast. This is because, the youngsters learn, when the microbes in the yeast eat the sugar they release air, which inflates the balloon. But children are inquisitive, in addition to knowing that they are there, they also want to see these microbes. So they go under the microscope!

Only after seeing the difference between algae, pieces of onion and the most sought-after microbes, do the young scientists come across another type of bacteria: probiotics in yogurt. This time their food is not sugar, but milk. The balloon swells again, and now you know it's not magic but science.

The young guests have become skilled scientists and all they have to do is go home and explain all the things they have learnt today to the whole family.

For those who want to explore similar events, Festivaletteratura recommends:

Events at the Casa del Mantegna - Event 1 "Quant’è piccolo il mondo! (E come osservarlo)" - Event 132 "Lupi" - Event 154 "Leo. Uno sguardo sul mondo".