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Classroom and Laboratory Safety Signs

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.
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Defending Against Microbes

1. Recalling the activity, “Microbes are Everywhere,” and the abundance of microbes throughout our environment, ask students, If microbes are everywhere, why aren’t we sick all the time? List students’ answers on the board. Lead them to understand that the body’s immune system defends us against dangerous microbes.

2. Distribute the “Germ Defense” student page to each student. Have students read the article individually and highlight any new words or concepts they find.

3. After students have finished reading the article, divide them into groups of four. Have each group discuss the new terms and concepts they found in the article. Provide resources for further investigation of the immune system. For example, student groups might search the Internet for more information at websites such as those for the National Institutes of Health ( or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

4. Lead a classroom discussion about the new words and concepts discovered in the article, Germ Defense. Allow each group to present one new word or concept, and continue around the room until all new words and concepts have been discussed. Then, distribute the crossword puzzle, which students can complete individually or in their groups.

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