Lesson Plan

Microorganisms of the Desert

Mature soil crust nurtures seedlings.
Mature soil crust nurtures seedlings.

NPS photo by Neal Herbert

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade
Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants
National/State Standards:
Utah State Science Core Curriculum Topic, Standard Five: Students will understand that microorganisms range from simple to complex, are found almost everywhere, and are both helpful and harmful.
algae, Fungi, microorganism, bacteria, Biological Soil Crust, lichen, desert pothole


This outdoor lesson plan includes three hour-long investigations: discovering pothole dwellers, examining lichens, and investigating biological soil crusts. In the classroom, students examine photographs of common microorganisms and use microscopes to search for organisms in pothole water.