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Protists Lesson Plan

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

In this lesson plan, students will learn about organisms called protists, the three types and characteristics. They will read a lesson, watch a video, answer discussion questions and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson students will be able to:

  • define protists.
  • identify the three types of protist.
  • describe the characteristics of each type.


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.9

Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.



  • protists
  • polyphyletic
  • animal-like protists
  • plant-like protists
  • fungus-like protists


  • Prior to the lesson, assign the vocabulary, then review for accuracy.
  • Begin the lesson by asking students to discuss why we study protists.
  • Now explain that they will explore different types of protists in this lesson.
  • Distribute a copy of the Types of Protists & Their Characteristics lesson, select a student to read 'What is a Protist?', then start the following discussion:
    • Identify the four types of organisms.
    • Explain why protists are defined vaguely.
    • Describe the term polyphyletic.
  • Research a short video on protists, then play for the class.
  • Next choose another student to read 'How Are Protists Grouped?' and 'Animal-like Protists', then pose these discussion points:
    • List and explain how biologists talk about protists.
    • Are animal-like protists similar to animals? Explain.
    • Use smart technology to define symbiotic parabasalids.
  • Now select another student to read 'Animal/Plant-like Protists'.
  • Shoulder pair students and ask them to compare and contrast animal/plant like protists to animal-like protists.
  • Allow pairs to share their answers.
  • Afterwards, find another student to read 'Plant-Like Protists' and 'Fungus-like Protists' then ask these questions:
    • Define photosynthesis.
    • How do plant-like protists use photosynthesis?
    • Describe characteristics of fungus-like protists.
  • Next ask students to read the 'Lesson Summary' independently, then distribute the lesson quiz and require students to write the answers, then review.

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