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Observing Different Microbes

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

Prepare Slides of Microbes to Observe

Students will investigate representatives from three different groups with microscopic members: bacteria, fungi and protists. Students will create simple wet mounts on slides and observe specimens through a microscope. Obtain specimen samples in advance (see lesson PDF).

Students will not be able to observe many internal structures of bacteria or yeast. However, they may be able to see the nuclei, some organelles and cilia (tiny hairs outside the cell membrane) of paramecia. If you use pond water collected from natural sources or make your own, students will see a variety of microorganisms in the water, including algae, protozoans (informal designation used to describe motile, animal-like unicellular organisms) and small animals (such as water fleas—Daphnia—or insect larvae).

Throughout this activity, be sure to have students write down the magnifications at which they make their observations and drawings.

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605