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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Curriculum relevance| Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Online lesson plan


Know that micro-organisms are living organisms that are often too small to be seen

Understand that micro-organisms may be beneficial or harmful

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Sc2 5f

Wales: Key Stage 3, Life processes and living things, 5.7

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Living things, Ourselves, c

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Variety and characteristic features, Level F

Resources required

Online activity from Science Clips website: micro-organisms

Picture examples: Bacteria, Fungi, Viruses, Beneficial microbes, Harmful microbes

Labels: Bacteria, Fungi, Viruses, Beneficial microbes, Harmful microbes

Reference books, CD-ROMs, magazines

Teaching activities

Remind children of the work they did on teeth and eating. Can they explain how they should look after their teeth and recognise why they need to do so? Remind children that in their work on Interdependence and adaptation, they discovered living things decompose on death.

Show the labels and discuss the definition of the terms bacteria, virus and fungi. Can the children name examples of each? Display the pictures. Can the children identify which organism belongs to which category?

Open the online activity on an interactive whiteboard. Explain to the class they are looking at a garden and kitchen scene. Explain that as you move your cursor over the scene, the cursor changes to a camera when there is a micro-organism to be spotted (such as in the compost heap or in the rotting food). A click of the mouse collects the micro-organism. By clicking on the magnifying glasses, you can find additional information on each example. Click the Sorter button. Explain they must sort the photos into harmful or beneficial micro-organisms.

Divide the class into groups with a computer for each group. Let each group work through the Spotter and the Sorter parts of the activity. Encourage each group to look at the information screens by clicking on the magnifying glasses.

On the interactive whiteboard, complete the Spotter and Sorter parts of the activity with the whole class. Discuss safety when looking at real micro-organisms. Discuss the harmful effects of micro-organisms (illness, disease, rot). Discuss how bacterial disease can enter the body (breathing in, drinking water, eating food, cuts) and ways we can help to prevent this.


Research examples of micro-organisms at work from magazines, newspapers, CD-ROMs, the internet and reference books to make a display.

Suggested homework

Look for examples of beneficial and harmful bacteria at home. Make a list to add to a display in the class or to report back to the class.


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