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Teaching Resources

Minerals and Microbes

STEM Discipline


National Middle School Science Standards

Life Science, Earth Science

Key Terms

geology, microbiology, microbes, minerals, chemical elements, ecosystem services, remediation 

Key Concepts

  • Ecology of microbes such as fungi and bacteria 
  • Flow of energy between minerals and microbes
  • Microbes and their value for ecosystem services 
  • Definition and composition of a mineral 
  • Technology used by geologists and microbiologists 

Resource Types

Associated Experts

A handful of soil contains millions of microbes that process minerals. Photo by Scott Bauer, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDAA handful of soil contains millions of microbes that process minerals. Photo by Scott Bauer, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA
Webcasts (video) and Podcasts (audio) Shows
Printable Lessons 
Online Activities
Science Literacy Resources
Posters and Worksheets 


The Minerals and Microbes teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

Life Science


From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • MS-LS1-3Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
  • MS-LS1-5Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
  • MS-LS1-7Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.


Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • MS-LS2-1Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-2Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-4Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Earth Science


Earth and Human Activity
  • MS-ESS3-4Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
All Q?rius Resources for These Standards
Medium shot of geologist Dr. Cara Santelli in white shirt, gray sweater and blue gloves at a microscope in her lab at NMNH.
Cara Santelli
Former Curator of Mineral Sciences
Geologist Dr. Jeffrey Post sitting at a desk that has green, blue, and orange crystals on it.  Window and painting behind him
Jeffrey Post
Geologist, Curator-in-Charge, Mineral Collection
Tags: microbe

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