Pathogenic and Beneficial Bacteria Introduced

Includes a Google Doc Version for Distance Learning!

bacteria webquest cover

[Students – please scroll down for the webquest links]

The hardest part of teaching 6th-9th grade science sometimes is figuring out what information is essential for these students to learn so that they develop important background knowledge to propel them forward to deeper learning in upper high school courses and beyond. I struggle with this question all of the time.

It has taken a few years, but I think I have found the right balance when it comes to teaching about the bacteria kingdom. We learn about this subject twice – first, when study the basic characteristics of the different kingdoms of life. Second, when we study pathogens and the immune system, which is when my students do this webquest.

I developed this webquest to engage my students in the reasons WHY we study bacteria. This could seem like a boring subject, but bacteria are amazing, complex and scary. They are a part of our history as humans and literally a part of our bodies. Learning about bacteria can be frightening at times given the havoc they can cause, but its through learning and studying them that we quell our fears.

For one, kids often are given the impression that all bacteria are bad and disease-causing. The exact opposite is true and most bacteria are harmless or are doing a job directly for us or in the environment that we rely on. Learning about this makes them a lot less scary. And yes, some do harm us, but by studying them and engaging with them, we learn to stop and prevent their infections.

**The student links are those students visit as they complete the webquest. Click HERE to see the worksheet.** Click here to find out about my unit on pathogens. Click here to learn about my Pasteur and Redi Spontaneous Generation activity.

Webquest Student Links

Reading, What are Bacteria?

Disease-Causing Bacteria, Video 1

Alexander Fleming, Video 2

Reading, The real story behind penicillin

Reading, What about Good Bacteria?

Reading, The Danger of Antibiotic Overuse

cover page pathogens


cover page pathogensEveryone loves to learn about pathogens – those icky microorganisms that can make us sick and have caused lots of notorious epidemics that both horrify and intrigue us today! Students learn the basics about pathogens and how we have learned to deal with them.

This packet includes 11 engaging, knowledge-building activities for students to learn about…

  1. The 5 types of pathogenic organisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi, protists and worms

    2. Some diseases caused by each type of pathogen

    3. Vectors and hosts

    4. Antigens and antibodies – and basic facts about the human immune response to pathogens,

    5. Vaccines, and

    6. Eight scientists who greatly contributed to our knowledge about pathogens and how to prevent and fight their infections.


Immune System WebQuest Links
Video Recommendations

About Bacteria:

About Immunity and Vaccinations:


Antony (or spelled Antonie) van Leeuwenhoek

Edward Jenner

Ignaz Semmelweis

Dmitry Ivanovsky

John Snow

Louis Pasteur

Joseph Lister

Alexander Fleming

The real story behind penicillin