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Microbes Are Everywhere

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, Deanne B. Erdmann, MS, Sonia Rahmati Clayton, PhD, and James P. Denk, MA

Let’s Talk About It

Present students with the following statement: “Microbes are everywhere.” Have them defend or dispute this statement based on the class results.

Ask, What do you think is happening when you see microbes growing on something? The microbes are using the substance as a food source. Remind students that microbes may be present, even if we can’t see them. Ask, Did the results from any of your sample locations support this statement? 

Test locations such as door knobs should have demonstrated the presence of microbes that are too small to see individually.

Pose the following question, which will lead into the activity, "Defending Against Microbes," If microbes are located everywhere, why aren’t we all sick? Allow students to discuss as a class. 

They should come to realize that many microbes are not harmful, but are, in fact, beneficial. In addition, students also should understand that many microbes can survive without growing or reproducing on surfaces or in the air for periods of time that vary from several hours to days or weeks.

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605