Yesterday my partner and I went to the dollar store and picked up a few supplies for our inquiry project. We got Tupperware containers (to put the petri dishes in), white paper towels (to keep the mould damp), filtered water (which may or may not work – we might have to try distilled water), and a maze. We are now trying to figure out if the maze we got can be used or if we will need to make another maze ourselves.
The walls of the plastic maze we found are actually connected to the lid of the maze rather than the bottom, so we might have to try making one ourselves. One idea is to fill the base of the maze with agar up to the point where the walls will meet it, and another is to flip the maze upside down and pour a very thin layer of agar into it. The maze needs a layer of non-nutritional agar so the mould has a good surface to climb on. Non-nutritional agar is the better choice, because if we were to use nutritional agar, other organisms might grow, contaminating the mould.
We also had a suggestion to make the maze out of lego blocks. Any equipment we use for the mould will need to be sterilized, so lego seems to be a good choice, but we think the maze might end up being too large if we use lego.
Last Friday Mr. Sarte ordered petri dishes, scalples, an incubator, and a slime mould kit. The kit will include some of the other pieces we need, such as foil to wrap the petri dishes in (they need to be kept in a dark, damp environment) and oats to feed the mould with. We are hoping the incubator will arrive by tomorrow as Friday is a non-instructional day. Our plan is to test the incubator and get everything set up so it will be ready for when the mould gets here.
First we want to experiment a bit with growing and keeping the mould alive, starting new cultures, and transferring the mould to and from its dormant stage. Once we get used to growing the mould, then we want to try putting it through a simple maze.