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Protozoa and Bacteria Lesson for Middle School Biology

Updated on May 18, 2019
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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Protozoa Lesson for Middle School Biology
Protozoa Lesson for Middle School Biology

This is the 29th lesson in a series of 32 hands-on lessons covering middle school biology from a Christian perspective. This lesson focuses on protozoa. Study pond water, play the Pond Scum game, observe bacteria, and more! I used this plan while teaching a 55 minute middle school biology class. Each lesson plan includes homework assignments and a variety of hands-on activities to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

These lessons are written for a class that meets once a week. If your class meets 5 days a week, simply do this lesson one day a week and use the homework assignments (at the bottom of the page) for the work for the other days of the week.

Homework Review

1. Pass out tickets to students who did their homework and who did the extra credit. Go over the homework questions from the book. (I give out tickets for students who volunteer to answer the questions.)

(Note: We will be going over the homework questions on trees, but we will save the class activities on trees for next week's class.)

Visual for mini-presentation on amoebas
Visual for mini-presentation on amoebas

One-Celled Wonders Mini-Presentations

2. Have students do mini-presentations on one-celled organisms.

  • Divide students into pairs.
  • Pass out a topic paper to each pair: Anton van Leeuwenhoek, Euglena, Trypanosome, Amoeba, Paramecia, Sporozoa, Bacteria, & Blue-green algae.
  • Students will have 5 minutes to research their topic using the textbook and create a drawn visual to accompany the presentation. The presentation should include at least 3 important ideas and 1 interesting fact.
  • Tip: One student might want to work on the information while the other student works on the visual.

3. Have each pair present on their topic. I filled in any especially important information if it wasn't included.

Bacteria growing on a potato slice
Bacteria growing on a potato slice

Observe bacteria growing on potatoes

4. If students brought their potato specimens from homework, have them take them out for us to observe the bacteria. If no one brought theirs, make sure to have one available.

  • How do the two potatoes compare? What happened?
  • Not everyone was able to successfully grow bacteria on their potatoes. Ask them why they think that was the case.

You will need:

  • at least 1 set of potato slice, one that was handled a week ago with unwashed hands and one that was handled with washed hands

Trying to identify protozoa in pond water under a microscope
Trying to identify protozoa in pond water under a microscope

Observe Pond Water

5. Allow students to view pond water under a microscope. (They should be able to see some protozoa even with a 40x magnification.) Can they identify any of the protozoa they saw?

You will need:

  • at least 1 microscope
  • at least 1 microscope slide and slip cover
  • pond water

Part of the Pond Scum game
Part of the Pond Scum game

Pond Scum Game

6. Assemble and play the Pond Scum game.

  • Have pair of students assemble the Pond Scum game, which is played similar to a chess game, with the various types of protozoa consuming one another.
  • While students assemble their boards, explain the rules.
  • Have students play the Pond Scum game. It will take about 30 minutes.

You will need:

  • a set of this Pond Scum game for each pair of students (It is free to print.)
  • scissors and tape or glue sticks (which students should have)

Protozoa; A Poseidon Adventure!
Protozoa; A Poseidon Adventure!
The above Pond Scum game came from this book, though the author offers the game free at her website as well. The book includes a number of other hands-on activities as well well. Plus, it is a fun way to learn more about protozoa. The author follows two thumbprint characters as they shrink and explore the life of a pond. It's a fun way to learn about specifics of each of the protozoa. We enjoyed reading it at home in order to get more in depth than what the A Beka text covers.
A Beka's Science: Order & Design science textbook
A Beka's Science: Order & Design science textbook


(Page numbers refer to the pages in A Beka's Science: Order & Design textbook.)

  • Friday: Read pp. 421-424. Answer 3 questions of your choice from p. 424.
  • Monday: Read pp. 424-429. Answer 3 questions of your choice from p. 429.
  • Tuesday: Read pp. 429-435. Select 2 of the trees featured. Draw a picture of the leaf or needle of the tree and its seed. Research online or in a book to find out a little bit more about the tree. Write 3 more pieces of interesting information about the tree that is not included in the textbook.
  • Wednesday: Read pp. 435-443. Answer 4 questions of your choice from p. 443.
  • Extra Credit: Sketch and identify 4 different trees that you find outside. (These should be different from the ones you identified last week.) Include the general tree shape, the leaf shape (possibly doing a leaf rubbing), and the bark type (possibly doing a bark rubbing) You can get another extra ticket for doing this for 4 more trees. (8 in total = 2 tickets)

Looking for all my lessons?

© 2019 Shannon


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