Skip Navigation

Observing Different Microbes

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

Materials for Each Group of Four Students

This activity requires some preparation ahead of time. Well in advance, order pond water from a science supplier, collect fresh “pond water” from a ditch or pond, or make your own (see instructions in lesson PDF). 

One day before conducting the activity, mix yeast and one teaspoon of sugar in warm water and leave out overnight. Also, leave a container of yogurt unrefrigerated overnight. 

Make six copies of the student sheet (Slide Preparation Cards) on card stock and cut out cards. 

Have glycerin available for use in preparing slides of rapidly moving pond life (a small amount of glycerin on the slide will slow movement of the organisms being observed).

Have one or more microscopes available for each group of four students. Before class, prepare trays with the following items for student groups.

Materials per Student Group

  • Samples of microbes in small containers (pond water, yeast, yogurt), with a dropper for each container (toothpick for yogurt)
  • Tap water in a small container, with a dropper
  • 3 plastic slides and cover slips
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Drawing paper (or students’ lab notebooks or science journals)
  • Copy of Slide Preparation Cards
  • Group concept map (ongoing)

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605