Bacteria and Viruses

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Many people, children included, confuse the characteristics of bacteria and viruses.  The lesson introduces students to each and helps identify the differences between each.  When students hear the terms, they usually think of them negatively, but it is important for students to understand not all bacteria and viruses are harmful organisms. The students will be able to define bacteria and virus, identify characteristics of each, and compare/contrast each.

Bacteria and Viruses Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Bacteria and Viruses
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice on identifying and using Bacteria and Viruses
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

Many people, children included, confuse the characteristics of bacteria and viruses.  The lesson introduces students to each and helps identify the differences between each.  When students hear the terms, they usually think of them negatively, but it is important for students to understand not all bacteria and viruses are harmful organisms.  There are several animated videos as part of the additional resources, which would be helpful to the class.  Lesson may be used in conjunction with an Asexual Reproduction lesson.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction

  1. Ask: Have you ever been sick?  What was it like?  Do you know what may have caused you to become sick?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Give students the opportunity to share symptoms, etc.  You may choose to list some of the symptoms for display.  Ask students to compare the different symptoms.
  3. Allow for further responses and discussion. Introduce bacteria and viruses.
  4. Distribute Bacteria and Viruses content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity page.  Read and review the Instructions. Pair students.  Distribute supplies.  Circulate through the room assisting where necessary and ensuring that students stay on task.  Encourage creativity and use of the pictures to stress the message with some text for emphasis.
  6. Once completed, students will share the posters with the class. Display the posters in the classroom or another designated area of the school.  Students vote on the most creative posters.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.  Allow students to share pictures or images.
  9. In closing, ask students to share an experience: Do you think there could be advantages when someone becomes ill?
  10. Allow for responses and discussion. (Depending on illness, scientists may learn how to make a vaccine, discover antibiotics, etc.  Some may say missing school, staying home, etc.)

Common Core State Standards: 

CSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.7

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions.

Additional Resources:

Want more science resources? Check out our other Science Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Science