Balloon Bugs

Discover more about the basic shape and structure of different bacteria through this balloon modelling activity. 

In this activity you will explore the shape and structure of three different species of disease-causing bacteria through balloon modelling. You can make a balloon model of up to three bacteria: Streptococcus pneumonia, Salmonella enterica or Campylobacter jejuni. Then find out how they each cause disease in humans.

Bacteria are living organisms that grow and divide rapidly in the right conditions. Some bacteria are harmful and can cause disease if they enter our body. In this activity you will look at three examples of disease-causing bacteria. Streptococcus pneumonia causes a sore throat. Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni both come from contaminated food and cause diarrhoea.

Bacteria are incredibly small so can only be seen under a microscope. They can be divided into groups according to their shape and structure. Those shaped like spheres or balls are called cocci, those shaped like rods are called bacilli, and those shaped like spirals are called spirochetes. Some bacteria move around their environments by way of tail-like structures called flagella. These features can be used to identify different species of bacteria.

Age: 7 years + (KS2 +) 

This page was last updated on 2020-03-25