What Do You Know About Microbes?

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This is a series of quick activities/demos and pre-assessment tools that evaluate learners' current understanding of microbes and introduce them to basic information about microbes. Learners will complete a pre-assessment survey, estimate the mass of microbes in the human body, and begin group concept maps. Educators can implement this entire lesson plan or use elements on their own. This lesson guide includes background information, extension ideas, and a handout.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Glo GermTM kit (includes a black light)
  • Graduated cylinder, beaker or other means to measure one liter of water accurately
  • Sturdy plastic bag large enough to hold a one-liter size bottle
  • 8 small sticky notes
  • 4 hand lenses
  • 4 pairs of safety goggles
  • 4 small paper clips
  • Access to a balance or spring scale (2,000 gm capacity)
  • Capped plastic bottle, pre-filled with one liter (measured) of water
  • Markers


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Viruses and Bacteria
      • Protists and Fungi
      • Classification
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition
      • Immune System
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


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