Bacteria Activities & Games

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson arms you with several in-class and take-home activities and games students can engage in in order to learn about the general concepts related to bacteria and how they affect us.

Bacteria Activities and Games

Bacteria can be challenging to learn about. Their names are unpronounceable. Their structures are foreign. But that doesn't mean that bacteria have to be boring! This lesson includes four fun activities and games to engage your class and help your students learn more about these organisms.

Class Card and Drawing Game

This game can help your students learn about bacteria while providing them with a fun competitive activity. Consider handing out prizes to the top finishers as an added incentive or maybe provide extra credit.

1. Pass out white/blank index cards.

2. Provide drawing tools, such as colored markers and pencils, or have students bring their own.

3. Give students five cards apiece, and ask them to draw anything they wish about bacteria. For instance, they could emphasize a particular structure, like a thick cell wall. They could also draw a process that involves bacteria, such as chemotaxis, the movement of an organism. Have students label what they've drawn on the other side of the cards.

4. Once everyone has finished, collect the cards, and split the class into two teams.

5. Place a table and three chairs in front of the class, including a chair for yourself in the middle.

6. Have one student from each team come to the front of the room and take a seat.

7. Pick a card at random, and have the two students try to guess what the artist illustrated. The first one to correctly identify the concept wins one point for his or her team. Repeat with two new students. The winning team may get a prize, like some extra free time in class, while the student with the most correct answers gets some extra credit.

8. You can allow for unlimited, three, or just one guess.

9. Students cannot have another turn until everyone has had a chance to participate.

Balloon Bacteria Demonstration

This activity is a fun way to demonstrate how infectious diseases, including those with bacteria, can easily spread.

1. Prior to the activity, assemble the materials, including balloons, a pitcher of water, paper cups, pencils and some color tablets or food coloring that doesn't stain, such as Color Fizzers.

2. Mix the colors or tablets with water in the paper cups.

3. Organize the students into small groups, and give each group a balloon and a paper cup. Have the students place a few drops of the colored water into their balloons.

4. Have the students blow up and then tie off the balloons. All but one student in each group should form a circle; that student should stand in the center and hold the balloon above everyone's heads.

5. On your count, the students holding the balloons should pop them with a pencil. Have the students check their bodies for any signs of colored water, which represents the fact that they've been contaminated with bacteria as a result of an uncovered sneeze.

Hand Sanitizer Experiment

This can make for a good follow-up to the balloon activity if you have time. On its own, it's also a great way for students to test the claim that hand sanitizers kill 99.9% of germs, or bacteria.

Every student needs one of the following:

  • Nutrient agar plate, a cultivation medium usually available in packs from classroom supply companies.
  • Sterile alcohol wipe in its original packaging
  • Marking pen

Have each student follow this procedure:

1. Mark the bottom of the nutrient agar plate into four quadrants. Each quadrant should be labeled as '1', '2', '3' and '4'.

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