What is Project Microbe?

Engage your students in a series of inquiry-based activities in the Project Microbe unit and microbes from the three domains of life: Eukarya, Bacteria, and Archaea. Beginning with an exploration of the technological advances that led to the current three-domain tree of life, students investigate how Carl Woese and his research partners used molecular methods to discover the Archaea domain. After observing live microbial communities from a Winogradsky column, students develop a model of the matter and energy cycles within ecosystems that can be applied to biological communities, micro or macro. Through reading adapted scientific articles, students develop science literacy skills and discover the critical role of microbial communities in human health and development. Finally, students model the stability and change of these microbial ecosystems by analyzing published data on the effects of antibiotics on the native microbes of the human microbiome.

Watch this introductory video to learn about microbes and their importance:

About the Project

Dr. Rachel Whitaker (Department of Microbiology) and Dr. Barbara Hug (College of Education) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign started Project Microbe as a collaboration between Project NEURON and Dr. Whitaker’s research in microbiology. Members of ImpactScienceEd¬†developed the curriculum materials and offered professional development opportunities for science educators and teachers. The curriculum materials created by this project are published on this site and free for anyone teachers to adapt for their classrooms.

Questions? Contact us at project.microbe@life.illinois.edu.



Project Microbe was funded collaboratively by National Science Foundation DEB:0816885 and Dimensions of Diversity to Dr. Rachel Whitaker and by the Office Of The Director, National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25OD011144 to Dr. Barbara Hug at Project NEURON / ImpactScienceEd. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation or National Institutes of Health.

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Project Microbe by ImpactScienceEd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.