The lesson introduces students to microorganisms, which are also known as microbes.  Most students are used to seeing the living organisms, such as the typical plant or animal, that they can see with the naked eye.  However, students will become fascinated when viewing single-celled organisms under a microscope (if available, highly recommended) or by use of one of the video resources.  Also included are the different types of harmful and safe microbes, where they are found, and more.  It’s not necessary for students to memorize all the terms, but they should be aware of the different types.

Microbes Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Microbes
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 1-3 but can be adapted for other grade levels

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The lesson introduces students to microorganisms, also known as microbes. After defining microbes, the lesson defines the five types of microbes: bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae and protozoa. Other interesting facts about microbes are listed, including some information about antibiotics. Video resources included with the lesson can give students an opportunity to view microorganisms under a microscope if one is not available in the classroom.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction:  

  1. Ask students: What living things can be found in the classroom?
  2. Allow students to respond and display a list. (Responses may include themselves, classmates, teacher, plants, classroom pet, etc.)  Continue to ask students about other living things.  Ask if there are things living they cannot see because they are too small.
  3. Allow for further responses and discussion. Tell students there are living things inside their bodies.  Introduce Microbes.
  4. Distribute Microbes content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Distribute the supplies.  (Group students based on the number of microscopes available.) Allow students time to view the drops of water under a microscope, sketch what they see, and discuss any of the differences with group members.
  6. Once completed, conduct a class discussion related to the sketches and responses to the activity questions.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.  Students correct false statements.  Allow students to share some of their responses for each letter.
  9. In closing, ask students: If a microbe had a brain and could talk, what do you think it might say? What question would you ask a microbe and why?
  10. Allow for responses and discussion. (Students may write out one or more comments or questions to share.)

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7

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

1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade