Antimicrobial Resistance #3 – Bacterial resistance to antibiotics: An authentic experience


Irene Drymiotou, Experts from the Centre of Excellence


University of Cyprus

The aim of this activity is to initiate collaboration between educational and non-educational agents, raise students’ awareness of science-related careers through meaningful interaction with experts, and enhance students’ interest in science through activities developed in an authentic context related to AMR.

The activity develops in two steps: (1) Meeting the experts in school and (2) Engaging in authentic activities at the experts’ facilities. It is important to note that aside from the relevant background of the experts (i.e., microbiologist, molecular biologist, biochemist, biotechnologist, geneticist), a set of criteria should be defined for their selection in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status in order to maximise inclusivity. Moreover, coordination meetings need to be arranged between the teachers and the experts before the interaction with the students.


  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15


  • Antimicrobial resistance


  • Between 2-5 hours

Students’ resources

Profile Cards: A card to fill in information about the experts.

A template for creating a profile card can be shared with the students before the meetings with the experts. During the meeting, students can use it as an interview protocol to take notes while interacting with the experts.

After the meeting the students use the card templates to create a collection of experts’ profiles.

Below you can find an example of a finished profile card.

Teachers’ resources

Activities related to AMR (flexibility to choose):

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics

Introduction to the 3 I’s in Microbiology (Inspect; Inoculate; Incubate). Application of antibiotic diffusion discs to agar surface with a colony of a bacterium (that was previously incubated for 24 hours at 37 Celsius) to check whether bacteria resist to antibiotics. If the bacterial concentration is reduced around the disk (i.e., a clear zone forms around the disk) then the zone of inhibition is visible => the antibiotic is effective. When no transparent zone forms around the disk then the antibiotic is not working => antibiotic resistance.

Identification of various forms of bacteria

Place on Petri dishes various forms of bacteria in the form of edible jelly and ask the students to identify the bacteria they represent.

Spot saliva bacteria using a microscope

Collect saliva from your mouth using a swab and place it on a slide and cover it with a clear glass or plastic to minimise evaporation and protect the microscope lens from exposure to the sample. Observe the sample through the microscope.

Balloon microbe Model

Blow a balloon and draw a microbe on it. How can you pinch a balloon without popping it? Imagine that the balloon is a microbe, and the skewer is the antibiotic. Try to place the skewer on to balloon without bursting the balloon. Observation: When the skewer is placed close to the knot, the balloon resists popping. Conclusion: Some microbes create stronger coats and resist to antibiotics.

Natural selection, the fittest survive!

Create clay models with the following main components: ribosomes, genomic DNA, plasmids (diamond ring), flagellum, fimbriae, cell wall, plasma membrane and cytoplasm. The diamond ring (stretch of circular DNA) carries the Antibiotic resistance gene. For the bacteria to form, a sex pilus is formed – a bridge that allows the exchange of rings. This process is known as conjugation, and this is the basis of forming AMR bacteria. The more resistant genes a bacterium has the more resistant becomes. The students create the model of bacterial conjugation showing the gene transfer.