Bacteria Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping elementary students learn about bacteria. Students will be able to discuss the process of making homemade yogurt using content-specific vocabulary.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on bacteria students will be able to:

  • Ask and answer questions about bacteria.
  • Understand and use academic vocabulary related to bacteria.
  • Describe bacteria's role when making homemade yogurt.


90 minutes (divided between 2 days)

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.


  • bacteria
  • bacilli
  • capsule
  • cell wall
  • cholera
  • cocci
  • cytoplasm
  • decompose
  • environment
  • flagellum
  • microbes
  • microorganisms
  • microscope
  • nucleus
  • nutrients
  • ribosomes
  • single-celled
  • spirochete
  • spirillum
  • vibrio


Reading & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with students before reading lessons.
  • Read Bacteria Lesson for Kids: Definition, Facts & Types as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • Where do bacteria live?
    • What do bacteria look like?
    • What does bacteria do?
    • What are some parts of bacteria?
    • What functions do each part of bacteria serve?
    • How are bacteria classified?
    • What type of environment do bacteria need to thrive?
    • What are some things that bacteria do to help us?
    • What are some ways that bacteria hurt us?
    • What are the five main types of bacteria? How are they alike/different?
  • Ask if there are any questions, then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.

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