Alvir Champrobacter has disappeared

Clientele: 13 to 15 years old

Type of resource

Online activity to do at school or at home.

Requires speakers and Flash software (can be downloaded free of charge)

Printable version of this page

Online activity - Alvir Champrobacter has disappeared (PDF 201 Ko)


  • Help students to become aware of the importance of the role of microorganisms in their environment.
  • Help students to become aware of the importance of the role of microorganisms for their own health.
  • Apply the scientific method to solve a problem.

Description of the resource

The student is presented with a dramatic situation scenario involving mainly the habitats of microorganisms that are useful or harmful to humans and asked to solve an enigma.

Steps of the scientific process

  • Observation or situation scenario
  • Problem or question
  • Formulation of a hypothesis
  • Experimentation or collection of data
  • Data processing or results
  • Conclusion

Situation scenario

In the past week, we have had no news from Dr. Alvir Champrobacter, the Institute’s eminent microbiologist and an expert in soil decontamination. Two weeks ago, Dr. Champrobacter went to an equatorial country to collect soil samples on land that was once used as pasture for sheep. Unfortunately, this land has been used for about 30 years as a dump for various chemical products, notably hydrocarbons and PCBs. The country’s government is worried about this pollution, which is possibly already contaminating the water of the adjacent river, the source of drinking water for the villagers of El Suelo. The government has called upon Dr. Champrobacter to study the situation and propose a biotechnological solution to remedy the situation. She returned last week and came directly from the airport and deposited her samples in the laboratory’s refrigerator. She confided to her friend, Michel, who is responsible for the electron microscope laboratory, that she had a headache and had been running a fever since the morning. She vaguely waved to him with the back of her hand and left the laboratory at the beginning of the evening. Strangely, Michel noticed a black mark on her hand, as if it were dirty. Since that day, she has not been seen again.

Places to explore to collect clues

Each of the following rooms contains clickable areas. Some of these areas are clues that will accumulate automatically in the Clues Box. The other clickable areas contain complementary information.

Here is the list of various clickable areas for each of the rooms.

In Alvir’s office, we find:

  • access to the electron microscope room,
  • a calendar,
  • a photograph of a spatula,
  • a TOP SECRET file,
  • Alvir's vaccination booklet,
  • a prescription,
  • a photograph of Alvir.

On the sampling site, we find:

  • a river,
  • a pile of soil,
  • a first aid kit,
  • a cooler,
  • a shovel,
  • a filtration system,
  • a pail filled with soil,
  • a hole in the soil.

At the El Suelo hotel, we find:

  • a shower and a toilet,
  • a framed picture of sheep,
  • a framed picture of a cow,
  • a dog,
  • cheese,
  • green peas,
  • beer.

At the University’s laboratory, we find:

  • Manolito, the technician,
  • a PCR apparatus,
  • a molecular model of DNA,
  • a file on chromatography,
  • a vial of acetaminophen,
  • dimenhydrinate pills.

Conclusion of the investigation

The student must first choose a hypothesis and then collect clues by visiting the places where Alvir traveled. The student must then choose three clues that support his hypothesis and validate his choice.

Education programs

For links with education programs, consult the document Online activity - Alvir Champrobacter has disappeared (PDF 201 Ko)

Link to the resource

Go to Alvir Champrobacter has disappeared in the Games section of Micro-Discoveries Online.