Bacteria and Antibiotics

Description of the Activity

Students in grades 6 through 8 have an opportunity to investigate bacteria, learn about their importance and significance, and examine the role that antibiotics play in disease treatment. Students will culture bacteria and observe the effects of antibiotics on different bacterial cultures.


  • Learn the structure and function of bacteria and viruses
  • Describe and identify different microorganisms
  • Learn the history of antibiotics and disease treatment
  • Describe and explain the effect that antibiotics have on bacteria
  • Understand the function of different antibiotics
  • Appreciate the growing problem of antibiotic resistance
  • Observe the effect of different antibiotics on 4 different bacterial cultures

Student Pre-Briefing

To get the most out of the laboratory experience, we strongly suggest that you prepare your class prior to coming to the Clemson University Life Sciences Outreach Center. For the bacteria and antibiotics lab, we would like your students to have a basic understanding of the following topics:

  • Three major classification of life: eubacteria (bacteria), archea (archeans), eukarya (eukaryotic).
  • General bacteria structure – cell wall, plasma membrane, chromosome, plasmids, and no membrane bound organelles.
  • Basic understanding of how bacteria differ from viruses.
  • What it means for bacteria to be “resistant” or “sensitive.” Only in the sense that resistant don’t die and sensitive can be killed by the antimicrobial agent.
  • What sterile/aseptic technique is and how it is used in microbiology to eliminate or minimize contamination. They do not need any previous experience performing sterile technique.

Meets SC Content Standards