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KS2: Harmful Microbes

Close examination of various illnesses illustrates to students how and where in the body harmful microbes cause disease.

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Learning objectives
All students will:
  • Understand that sometimes microbes can make us ill
  • Understand that harmful microbes can pass from person to person
  • Understand that not all illnesses are caused by harmful microbes
Background Information

Some microbes can be harmful to humans and can cause disease: the Influenza virus causes the flu (short for Influenza), Campylobacter bacteria can cause food poisoning and dermatophyte fungi, such as Trichophyton, can cause diseases such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. Microbes like these are known as pathogens.

Each microbe can make us ill in different ways. Many harmful microbes can pass from one person to another by a number of different routes – air, touch, water, food, aerosols (such as sneezes and water vapour), animals, etc. This is why hygiene is so important to protect from infection and illness.

This lesson plan supports students to understand that microbes can be harmful to humans, how these harmful microbes can grow, and what actions we can take to reduce the growth and spread of harmful microbes.

Main activity:
  • Mouldy bread experiment
Extension activities:
  • Most wanted poster
  • Bad bugs challenge
  • True or false flashcards
  • Harmful microbes quiz
Curriculum links


  • Health and prevention


  • Working scientifically


  • Reading and comprehension
Supporting Materials
Teacher sheets
KS2 Harmful microbes teacher guidance
TS1 Class discussion teaching points
Student worksheets
SW1 Harmful microbes crossword and wordsearch
SW2 Harmful microbes quiz
Student handouts
SH1-2 Class discussion
SH3 True/ false flashcards