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Micro-Organisms - How Did I Get Strep Throat Again?

For all the good microorganisms, there are some very BAD microorganisms out there! They include many different bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.

Infected people may pass them by sneezing, improper cleaning methods, hand contact, and through sewage. Usually microorganisms can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted, and they can be deadly.

Below is a list of diseases caused by microorganisms. Using an Internet search engine, look up each of the diseases, and choose from the microorganism that causes it.

  1. Typhoid Fever
  2. Giardia
  3. Athlete’s Foot
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Strep Throat
  6. Amoebic Dysentery
  7. Scarlet Fever
  8. Whooping Cough
  9. Ringworm
  10. Meningitis

Highlight the box below to see if you got your answers right!

1.bacteria, 2.protozoan, 3.fungus, 4.bacteria, 5.bacteria, 6. protozoan, 7.bacteria, 8.bacteria, 9.fungus, 10.bacteria

Alexander Fleming
We have a happier life because of Alexander Fleming. Before 1928, many people died from diseases such as pneumonia and scarlet fever that you and I don’t worry about as much anymore. In 1928, Fleming was researching bacteria that caused disease in humans. He was growing the bacteria in dishes that contained a culture medium. He noticed that one of his dishes had been contaminated with mold. All around where the mold was growing, the bacteria had disappeared. After studying the mold under a microscope, Fleming correctly concluded that the mold contained a substance, Penicillin, which killed the bacteria. This led to the development of antibiotics that you take whenever you get a bacterial infection. Thanks, Dr. Fleming!

**WARNING Check with an adult to make sure you are not allergic to cinnamon!

Dr. Fleming knew the importance of avoiding the spread of disease. Although microorganisms can exist everywhere, they thrive best in warm and moist environments, like inside of you! YUCK! One way you can avoid becoming a culture medium is to WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN! Try this activity at school or home. It will show you that hand washing technique really makes a difference.

Materials:

  • Cooking spray or vegetable oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Soap
  • Paper towels
  • Warm water
  • Cold water
Procedure:
  1. Apply cooking spray or vegetable oil to your hands.
  2. Have a friend sprinkle cinnamon on your palms, backs, and in-between your fingers. The cinnamon represents germs. Remember, you can see the cinnamon, but you can’t see germs.
  3. Try to get rid of the cinnamon using only cold water. What happened when you tried to do this?
  4. Try to get rid of the cinnamon using soap and cold water. What happened when you tried to do this?
  5. Try to get rid of the cinnamon using soap and warm water. What happened when you tried to do this?

Analysis:

  1. Why did the cinnamon stay on your hands until you used soap and warm water?
  2. Can you estimate how long it took you to get the cinnamon off your hands?
  3. How is this similar to washing germs/microorganisms off your hands?
  4. Is it important to use soap and warm water for hand washing? Why or why not?
  5. Does the length of time you spend washing your hands make a difference in how clean your hands become?
utah state board of education This Sci-ber Text was developed by the Utah State Board of Education and Utah educators.