We know what we know because we can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell! Our senses give us information throughout our days, informing us, teaching us, and satisfying us. But there is a whole world that we do not experience quite so noticeably it's under the ground. This underground world is dominated by life invisible to the naked eye, but this microbial life has a tremendous impact on the soil, animals, plants, and even the atmosphere. Through hands-on discovery, the students will learn about the many interactions that occur beneath their feet as they play at the park or playground.
Microbes are single-celled organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle. They are the oldest form of life on earth. Microbe fossils date back more than 3.5 billion years to a time when the Earth was covered with oceans that regularly reached the boiling point, hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Without microbes, we couldn't eat or breathe. Microbes are everywhere. There are more of them on a person's hand than there are people on the entire planet! Microbes are in the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, the food we eat-they're even inside us! We couldn't digest food without them, plants couldn't grow, garbage wouldn't decay, and there would be a lot less oxygen to breathe. In fact, without these invisible companions, our planet wouldn't survive as we know it!
This unit is designed to introduce students, in a concrete way, to this microbial world.