This exercise has students apply skills and techniques learned in the lab to identify assigned, but unnamed, bacteria in a defined time frame with emphasis on wise use of media and supplies. This method reduces student involvement in the actual manipulation of microbes and media but allows the opportunity for the student to grasp the process of just how one approaches the identification of a microbe. Traditionally, students are assigned unknown microbes to identify with generous media and other supplies to use and liberal access to the microbiology laboratory. The approach described here represents a substantial savings in supplies and considers availability of the microbiology lab. Some colleges have a number of different kinds of lab classes scheduled for one lab room (not only microbiology, but also general biology, anatomy and physiology, genetics, etc.) thus restricting access to the facility outside designated class hours.