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The Variety and Roles of Microbes

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

Organizing by Microbe Groups

After discussing the information on each Microbe Group card, have students sort the Microbe Example cards related to food production into the appropriate microbe group. 

If students are having difficulty sorting certain cards, let them know that the cards contain clues about the different types of microbes. For instance, if a Microbe Example card says the microbe does not have a cell membrane, lead students in the right direction by asking, Which types of microbes do not have cell membranes? 

Other hints on the cards are phrases such as “single-celled,” “animal-like,” and other words describing distinctive features of the microbe. Characteristics such as whether or not the microbe can be treated with antibiotics may be helpful during the sorting process. 

Discuss anything that surprised your students. Point out that protists and viruses are not involved in food processing, (although some forms of algae are consumed as food). 

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605