Observing Different Microbes

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In this activity, learners use a microscope to examine three different microbes: bacteria, yeast and paramecia. Educator will need to prepare the yeast solution one day before the activity. This lesson guide includes background information, educator resources and Slide Preparation Cards. A yogurt recipe is included as an extension to this activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Paramecia (order a culture in advance, collect pond water or make your own)
  • 250-mL container (for yeast mixture)
  • 150-mL of warm water (for yeast mixture)
  • Package of dry baker's yeast (for yeast mixture)
  • Teaspoon of sugar (for yeast mixture)
  • 6-8 oz. of plain, unflavored yogurt
  • 6 sheets of cardstock (to make Slide Preparation cards)
  • Small dropper bottle of glycerin (one drop per slide will slow paramecia if they are overly active)
  • Permanent markers to label droppers
  • Microscope (one or more per group)
  • 20 mL of tap water in a cup
  • 3 plastic cover slips
  • 3 plastic slides
  • 3 droppers (one each for yeast mixture, pond water or paramecia, and tap water)
  • Toothpick (for yogurt)
  • Plastic tray (to hold materials)
  • Set of colored pencils or markers
  • Slide Preparation cards
  • Science notebooks
  • Group concept map (ongoing, if available)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
      • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
    • Diversity of Life
      • Viruses and Bacteria
      • Protists and Fungi
      • Classification
    • Ecology
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Moreno, Nancy P. ; Tharp, Barbara Z. ; Erdmann, Deanne B. ; Clayton, Sonia Rahmati ; Denk, James P.


  • All rights reserved, Baylor College of Medicine, 2008

Funding Source:

  • Science Education Partnership Award, 5R25 RR018605