10 – 12

Bacteria and other microbes


Bacteria and other microbes

What to do with this activity?

Bacteria are so tiny that we can only see them under a microscope - many thousands fit onto the head of a pin. It's amazing that these tiny things have such a huge effect on our world and on our bodies. We can't do without them.

Bacteria are the smallest living things on earth, consisting of just one cell each. Our bodies, inside and out, hold millions of bacteria. Most of them are good for us - we need healthy bacteria in our tummies to help digest our food for instance. Sometimes bacteria make us sick. That's why we wash our hands before eating food, and are careful about eating food that has been around too long.

The whole world depends on bacteria, which rots and recycles organic matter to improve the soil for growing. 

If you would like to read more about bacteria and other microbes, check out this interactive website organised by University College Cork and aimed at primary school kids. You can find out more about bacteria, viruses, funghi and parasites. Start with bacteria - there's loads to learn. 

Also have a look at some Fun Bacteria Facts from Easy Science for Kids, and this Youtube video on Germs by Make me Genius.




  • Why am I doing this?

    It’s important to encourage whatever reading your child is doing at this age. Children have their own interests and hobbies so they will be more inclined to read information about these subjects. Having comics, papers or magazines around the house will make it easier for your child to get into reading. Your child might find it appealing to read online and you might like that the book can be read by an automated voice. E books can be looked at when you are on the move, making sure that your child is careful with your computer or phone.

  • How can I do more?

    Your child might like to read a section of the newspaper or a magazine – the sports, fashion or cooking sections - depending on their interests. They might like to read a short piece from a newspaper and underline facts with a pen and opinion with a pencil. You can then talk about the difference between fact and opinion (there are good examples in sports writing). Encourage your child to read instructions for mending bikes, building models and playing new games.

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