Lesson Plan

What is a Microorganism?

bumpy dirt with small red lichen on top of bumps

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
State Standards:
Utah Core Curriculum
Sixth Grade Science
Standard 5: Objective 1, Objective 3

Essential Question

Where can we find microorganisms, and why do they matter?


This activity guide provides the definition, and explores examples of microorganisms, and the places microorganisms are found.


This guide contains background information about what microorganisms are and directions for three activities that will help students better understand microorganisms and how they relate to everyday life and Zion National Park. The activities are most beneficial to students when completed in order. This guide is specifically designed for sixth grade classrooms, but the activities can be modified for students at other levels.


  • Download and review What is a Microorganism? Activity Guide
  • Download and print activity materials
  • Gather meter sticks, magnifying glass, markers, paper, and envelopes as necessary


Download What is a Microorganism Activity Guide

Download Microorganisms are Everywhere

Lesson Hook/Preview

Just as there are millions of different species of plants and animals in the world, there are millions of different species of microorganisms. Microorganisms can survive in environments where humans are unable to live. Microorganisms exist throughout the world, from Antarctica to your kitchen, from inside animals, like humans, to the expansive wilderness in Zion National Park.


Follow suggested procedures within the activity guide.


Glossary available in activity guide.

Related Lessons or Education Materials

Microorganisms: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Last updated: May 10, 2019