Accidents happen a lot not just in life, but in science as well. Some of the greatest discoveries happened as the result of an accident, from the invention of the potato chip to the discovery of penicillin.

2 young scientists, Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao made their own mistakes throughout their experiments to discover a bacteria that was capable of breaking down plastics, specifically by breaking down phthalates, which are commonly found in plastics and have been linked to health problems. Throughout their experiment they made mistakes such as cracking a beaker, and contaminating some of their samples with fungi when attempting to isolate strains by streaking them onto mediate plates. Despite these bumps in the process they continued with their experiment, modifying and re-testing along the way and these mistakes actually led them to some new discoveries.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in the scientific process as you begin your experiments for the Terra Science Fairs. Learn from the mistakes, and use them to improve and modify the experiment.

Learn more about Miranda and Jeanny’s discoveries by watching their TED talk.

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