Wash your hands! Did you hear me? WASH YOUR HANDS! I’m not a broken record, I’m a mom. After learning about these amazing single-cell creatures that sometimes are our friends, and sometimes cause terrible epidemics, I’ve only two things to say: wash your hands and then come join today’s eye-opening microbe adventure.

Microbes Resource Handout for Classroom or Homeschool: Just $2.00

Infection Detection Protection5 stars

"Microbes are the oldest form of life on Earth. Some types have existed for billions of years. These single-cell organisms are invisible to the eye, but they can be seen with microscopes. Microbes live in the water you drink, the food you eat, and the air you breathe. Right now, billions of microbes are swimming in your belly and crawling on your skin. Don't worry, over 95% of microbes are harmless." This entire exhibit (from the American Museum of Natural History) is fabulous, but the best clicks are the Shockwave games with names like Bacteria in the Cafeteria and Infection!

Microbe.org5 stars

Developed by the American Society for Microbiology, Microbe.org introduces middle school students to microbiology with colorful images and friendly text. They even have a special section on hand washing, where I learned that although 94% of Americans say they wash their hands after using the bathroom, only 68% really do. Ughh! Other excellent clicks are the science experiments for home or classroom, and the career section.

Microbe Zoo5 stars

Using a zoo metaphor, Microbe Zoo explores microbe ecology, the study of microbes in their environment. Created for upper-elementary and middle school students, the site is divided into five environments: Animal Pavilion (with instructions on building a dung chamber in Poo Corner) , DirtLand (Who knows what evil lurks in that dirt pile? Microbiologists do.), Snack Bar (hmm . . . yummy yogurt), Space Adventure (microbes on Mars?) and Waterworld.

Microbes in Action5 stars

For teachers and homeschoolers, Microbes in Action provides dozens of microbiology activities for grades three through twelve. Each unit (in PDF for easy printing) contains both a teacher's guide and student worksheets. Topics include bacterial fluorescence (for high schoolers) and fungi growth (for elementary students.) Other sections (also in PDF) offer instruction on basic lab techniques ( methods for sterilizing glassware) and backgrounders on microbes that have been in the news, such as anthrax, E.coli, and smallpox. An excellent link section completes the site.

Scrub Club4 stars

A study of school children revealed that those that washed their hands four times a day missed between 21% and 54% fewer school days due to illness than those that didn't. In order to improve both health and school attendance, the not-for-profit NSF International created this website for kids three to eight. It teaches the six steps of hand washing though songs, cartoons, stickers and games. You mean I don't have to yell?

Microbes Resource Handout for Classroom or Homeschool: Just $2.00

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

Microbe World


Microbes: In Sickness and Health

PBS: Intimate Strangers

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Microbes." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 16 Feb. 2005. Web. 1 Sep. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/microbes/ >.

About This Page

By . Originally published February 16, 2005. Last modified February 16, 2005.

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