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What are Bacteria?

Do you know flagella from fimbriae? The cell wall from the capsule? Step through the animation to learn about bacteria and then test yourself with a quiz.

Requires Adobe Flash Player.

Skill Level:

Key terminology

Bacteria, cell, microorganism, nucleus, cell membrane, cytoplasm, cell wall, flagella, DNA


Common misconceptions

Bacteria are little animals.

Bacteria are only found in dirty places.


Scientific explanations

Bacteria are single cell microorganisms and they are found everywhere.

N.B. I am concerned by one statement the animation makes:

“DNA is known as the brain or control centre of the cell because it controls what the cell does.”

Strictly, DNA is a code that controls what (proteins) the cell makes and therefore does.  I don’t like the reference to a brain because it is misleading – children might interpret this to mean that bacteria can think.  Important that this does not introduce a misconception.


Screen – what it does/how to use it

Click to move through an animation which explains what bacteria are.

Followed by a quiz (with feedback) to test yourself.


Teacher interventions


  • Use in main teaching input to show the structure of cell and bacteria.
  • Use for children’s research.  Stop at screen showing bacteria – can children explain what the different parts do before clicking on the tabs at the top of the screen to find out?
  • Use quiz in plenary to determine knowledge.


Related lesson plans / class activities


  • Grow bacteria on agar in petri dishes: sample swabs from mouth, hand, table etc..

Also teachers could refer to e-bug pack:

includes lots of ideas & lesson plans for teachers of KS2


Links to related resources

lots of information to read about microoganisms

Activity – children decide whether pictures of bacteria are harmful or helpful

multiple choice quiz with feedback after scoring

Picture examples of bacteria


Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials

Learn the coding basics and bring the minecraft world to life!

Hour of Code – Moana

Learn some of the basics of coding using the characters from the movie Moana.

Please Do Feed the Animals

Can you sort the animals so they are given the right food?