Bacterial Colony Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

There are many characteristics of bacterial colonies. Your students will learn about bacteria colonies as they watch a video, view and draw bacterial colonies and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define bacterial colony
  • identify the morphology of different bacterial colonies
  • explain the characteristics of bacterial colonies


1.5 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • HS-LS2-8. Evaluate evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species' chances to survive and reproduce.


  • Computer with projector
  • Copies of the lesson quiz
  • Printer paper (place a small stack at each viewing station)
  • Colored pencils (place 2 sets at each viewing station)
  • Microscopes (set up at different stations around the classroom or lab)
  • Slides of different bacterial colonies (one slide per microscope to set up viewing stations, it is also best to set the slide up on the microscope ahead of time for easier viewing)


  • Begin the lesson by asking your students to tell you if they ever had to go to the doctor and get their throat or a wound swabbed. Explain to your students that the nurse did this so s/he could determine if there were any bacteria in that area by seeing if any grow in a petri dish in their lab.
  • Tell your students that they are going to learn more about how bacteria grow and are identified as they watch the Bacterial Colony: Morphology, Characteristics, & Definition video.
  • Start the video from the beginning and pause it at 1:30 to ask and discuss the following:
    • What is a bacterium?
    • What is a bacterial colony?
    • Why do you think bacteria grow and live in colonies rather than living alone?
    • What is colony morphology?
  • Continue playing the video and pause it again at 3:59 to ask and discuss the following:
    • What are the different characteristics of colony morphology?
    • Other than the color of the colony, what else can you describe under this characteristic?
    • What does pulvinated refer to about bacterial colonies?
    • To what does the edge of the bacterial colony refer?
    • What does punctiform mean?
  • Play the remainder of the video for your students and answer any questions they have at this point.

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