Microorganisms are all around us, with an amazing diversity of adaptations. They were the first life on Earth, and their relatively recent discovery in extreme environments—like hot springs, ocean vents, and polar ice—illustrates how tenaciously they've evolved and survived. Microbiology gives us insights into evolution, disease, and even the mechanisms of our own cells.
Have you ever seen a real virus? Probably not—they are so tiny that it is impossible to see them with your naked eyes. But how big or small are viruses really? The coronavirus Sars-Cov-2, which causes COVID-19, is about 120 nanometers in size. One nanometer is equal to one billionth of a meter! How many of these tiny coronaviruses do you think can you line up inside a pencil dot? In this activity, you will find out by creating a scale model that allows you to compare the size of many…
Use these free STEM lesson plans and activities to explore science related to viruses, pandemics, and COVID-19 with K-12 students.
Science teachers have always taught health, human biology, and microbiology to K-12 students. This year, however, these topics have new urgency and real-world impact. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, students are aware of viruses in new ways. But what makes COVID-19 different than the flu? How does social distancing make a…