Amoeba Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Amoeba are simple animals that are made up of one cell. This lesson will teach you about amoebas, how they move, where they are found, how they eat, and some other cool facts about these tiny organisms.

What are Amoebas?

Imagine you are so small that the only way someone can see you is with a microscope. You are floating around in a pond and see some very strange creatures that are just about your tiny size, but look like blobs. They seem to be made out of a glob of your favorite jam and you wonder if these are beings from another planet. But don't worry, you aren't looking at aliens from outer space. You are looking at amoebas!

Amoeba Viewed Through a Microscope
Amoeba Viewed Through a Microscope

Amoebas (pronounced uh-MEE-buhz) are small, one-celled animals that can only be seen under a microscope. They don't have a fixed body shape the way you do. Amoebas live all over the world in fresh water ponds, streams, and lakes; salty ocean water; the dirt you walk on; and even in animals.

There are many different kinds of amoebas, though it's hard to tell one kind from another. They all have traits in common, though.

Do Amoebas Move?

Amoebas can move, but they won't be winning any races. They don't walk or run like you do because they don't have legs or feet. Instead, they have a pseudopod (pronounced SUE-doe-pod), which means 'false foot,' that they use like a foot.

Amoeba with Pseudopod
Amoeba with Pseudopod

Amoeba's one-celled bodies are full of a fluid called cytoplasm, (pronounced SIGH-toe-PLAH-zum) which looks like gooey jam. They squirt that cytoplasm into their pseudopod, pushing it forward. Then they haul their body along behind, moving them where they want to go.

Amoeba filled with Cytoplasm
Amoeba filled with Cytoplasm

Do Amoebas Eat?

You probably don't eat with your feet, but amoebas use their pseudopod to do just that. Amoebas don't have mouths, tongues, or taste buds, so they can't enjoy a tasty snack the way you do. But they still need food to live, which is where their pseudopod comes in handy.

When amoebas find small bits of algae, bacteria, or tiny bits of dead plants and animals, they enclose it with their pseudopod and bring it back into their body where it is digested for dinner.

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