Viruses and Bacteria Introduction

Contributor: Felicia Sabur. Lesson ID: 11641

Have you ever been sick? Maybe a virus or bacterium got into your system. How can such a tiny little organism knock out a big, strong person? Get an overview of these creatures and related diseases!


Life Science, Life Science

learning style
Visual, Visual
personality style
Lion, Lion
Grade Level
High School (9-12), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Ever wonder why your doctor doesn't give you antibiotics every time you get sick? Why is it you have to get all those shots to keep you from getting sick, but you still catch a cold every year?

In this ten-part series on Viruses and Bacteria, you will learn how they are different, their structures, how they reproduce, and how they affect the environment around us.

In this lesson, you will get a brief introduction and overview of how viruses and bacteria differ from each other.

In Related Lessons Two, Three, and Four, you will be digging deeper into viruses. We will learn about their structures and shapes, and the reproduction cycles of both.

In Related Lessons Five through Nine, you will be digging deeper into bacteria. You will learn about bacteria structures and shapes, how they reproduce, how they are classified, and how they impact the world around you.

Worksheets and activities for Lessons One through Ten are all located in the Viruses and Bacteria Unit Workbook. Print the Viruses and Bacteria Unit Workbook from Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar and staple it together, or keep it in a 3-ring binder.

Bacteria and viruses cause many of the diseases that you are familiar with; however, they are very different from each other. That also means the methods for treatment for them are very different. Bacteria and viruses - What is the difference between bacteria and viruses?, by Healthchanneltv / cherishyourhealthtv, will give you a brief overview of a few of their differences. As you watch the video, fill in the chart located on Page 2 of your Unit Workbook. After the video is over, compare your answers with the chart below:


Here is a comparison chart of bacteria and viruses:

  Viruses Bacteria
  • Non-living
  • Living
  • Needs a host cell to replace it's self
  • Reproduce by asexual and sexual reproduction
  • Treated with vaccines
  • Treated with antibiotics
  • Very short survival time outside of the living host
  • Long survival time outside of a living organism and can continue to reproduce
  • Smallest type of microbe
  • Much larger than viruses
  • No nucleus
  • Prokaryotes
  • Contains DNA material
  • Contains DNA material


This is only a short list of a few of the differences between viruses and bacteria. As you dig deeper into the world of bacteria and viruses, you will uncover more differences and similarities.

In each lesson, there will be vocabulary words written in bold throughout the lesson. The Viruses and Bacteria Unit Workbook has a vocabulary section located at the back, where you write down the definitions for each lesson.

This series will have a lot of vocabulary, but you will only be given a few new words each lesson.The following three vocabulary words will be used very frequently during your upcoming lessons. You should become familiar with them and write the definitions in the Vocabulary section of the Unit Workbook. You will cover all this information more in depth in the upcoming lessons.

Lesson 1 Vocabulary

  • Microbes Small organisms that are unseen to the naked eye
  • Virus A type of microorganism that cannot reproduce or grow without the help of a living host cell
  • Bacteria Microorganisms, usually unicellular, that do not have a distant nucleus

Make sure you get these words before you move on to the Got It? section.

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