Skip Navigation

What Do You Know About Microbes? (pre-assessment)

Author(s): Barbara Tharp, MS, and Nancy Moreno, PhD

Materials for a Group of Four Students

You will need non-toxic Glo Germ™ powder and a black light to conduct this activity. You may order Glo Germ™ powder or a Glo Germ™ Kit (includes a black light) online at or See "Setup" below.

Materials per Student Group

  • 8 small sticky notes (2 per student)
  • 6 plastic trays to hold materials for each group
  • 4 hand lenses
  • 4 small paper clips
  • Markers
  • Poster board or chart paper and markers, or access to computer with drawing software
  • Prepared 1-liter plastic bottle coated with Glo Germ™ powder
  • Stopwatch or clock with second hand

Materials per Student

  • Copy of the pre-assessment student page


Fill one plastic liter-sized bottle with water (one per student group). Dry the outside surface of each bottle. 

Place 1 cup of Glo Germ™ powder in a large plastic bag. Place each bottle, one at a time, in the bag and shake gently to coat the outside of each bottle.  

The bottles will look slightly dusty, but the Glo Germ™ powder will be visible to students under a black light. The specks of Glo Germ™ powder will model microbes.

Students will need access to one balance scale (may be shared by all students).

Place each group’s tray in a central location for each group’s Materials Manager to pickup.

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605