The Vaccine Makers Project: Does Size Matter? Comparing Viruses, Bacteria, and Human Cells

Students investigate the causes of disease and study the size of pathogens compared with human immune cells.

Math is used to calculate ratios comparing the relative sizes of viruses, bacteria, and human cells. 3D model instructions from the NIH enable printing of a representative model of influenza virus, the bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes, and a human dendritic cell.

Lesson Questions

  • What are the similarities and differences in structure between viruses, bacteria and human cells?
  • How does the size and structure of viruses, bacteria and human cells relate to their functions?

Lesson Files


Biology, Health & Medicine, Microbiology
Middle School, Educator

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