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Life Size: Line 'em up!

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Life Size: Line 'em up!

In this activity on page 1 of the PDF, learners compare the relative sizes of biological objects (like DNA and bacteria) that can't be seen by the naked eye. Learners will be surprised to discover the range of sizes in the microscopic world. This activity can be followed up with a second activity, "What's in a microbe?", located on page 3 in the same resource.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • Individual word labels
  • One sheet of paper


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
      • Viruses and Bacteria
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
    • Problem Solving
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Yu, Julie


  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©2006

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0610238
  • National Science Foundation, 0925383


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