Students explore the human microbiome in this lesson, first by voting on some discussion questions, then by taking a 'microbial personality' quiz that matches them with a particular microbiome microbe. From there, students create concept maps in small groups, incorporating their microbe and some general terms and ideas. Students also create their own quiz question by learning about additional species that are part of our microbiome. Finally, students revisit the discussion questions from the beginning and justify their answers using examples from the human microbiome.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students will be able to do the following:
  1. Define the terms “microbe” and “microbiome.”
  2. Describe some of the diverse features of microbes that live in or on the human body.
  3. Explain some ways in which microbes in our microbiomes help us.


Science Standards

This lesson addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; 2013):
  • MS-LS1-1 Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • HS-LS2-3 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Supplementary Artwork

ASM designed unique buttons for each microbial identity in the personality quiz. If you would like to reproduce these for your students, you can submit the high-resolution artwork in this zip file to the vendor of your choice. Note that this artwork is sized for 1” round buttons and includes bleed.
Note that the artwork may not be altered and may be used for educational purposes only.