Microbiology Unit Study


This school year I had planned to use Ellen McHenry’s Cells with my highly creative 10 year old visual-spatial learner.  We had both really enjoyed her Excavating English book, but I can’t say our experience was similar for the cells book.  My son was not connecting with the material.  If I have learned anything about teaching this kid, it is that we are wasting time if the material isn’t connecting with him.  After several weeks using the Cells book and trying a few different ways to make it work, I decided to ditch it in favor of a personalized unit study.  I knew he would do well with that format.

This study includes books that are visually interesting, creative food models, microscope exploration, lots of petri dish cultivation, and plenty of videos.  My son told me that he wanted to do lots of creative food projects.  As a result, he will be making things like an edible bacteria model and an edible virus model.  Yummy, right?   We have some prepared microscope slides, but most things require my son to prepare his own slides.  I also now need to stock up on petri dishes and agar.

My 5th grader started this study last week and has already started pondering things and asking questions.  It took quite a bit of time to put this all together, but seeing how my son is connecting with the material makes it all worthwhile.  My 7th grader is joining in on some of the videos because he is interested and it complements his current biology studies.

On a side note, I believe The Monsters Inside Me videos are rated as 14+.  I had my boys watch a few minutes of one to see if it was something they could handle.  They both gave it a go.  I’ve watched at least part of every video in the study.  I plan to preview the ones on here and adjust as necessary.

Introduction to Microbiology


Microscope Explorationmicroscopebook


History of Microbiology



Animal Cells


Plant cells

Immune System – Cell Defenders

Types of Cells in the Human Body

Prokaryotes (Bacteria)

Eukaryotes (protozoa, algae, fungus)



Genes and DNA


Microbes and Humans

Microbes in the World Around Us


  1. Hi! I know this is from a few years ago, but my soon to be 9 year old daughter heard a TED talk about subsurface microbes and wants to study it this year as our first semester project. Could you share your basic schedule on how you did this?

    • Eclectic Homeschooling

      We started at the top of the list (page/post) and continued until it was finished. We didn’t have a set amount to be done each day/week.

  2. This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing! My son wants to study microbiology this year and this list will be so helpful!
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  3. How much time each day do you think your child worked on this unit and how many weeks did it take to finish the unit?

    • Eclectic Homeschooling

      We didn’t do it that way. We just worked at it at least several times a week until it was finished. It was less than an entire school year.

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  6. Thank you! We will be doing biology this year, and this list will be so helpful.

  7. This is a fabulous list of resources! Great timing for us, as my oldest dd is taking a college microbiology course for her nursing degree, and that has sparked questions about microbiology from my younger kids who are still at home. Thank you so much!

  8. This is Awesome!
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  9. Great list! What microscope do you use ?

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