World Builders™                                                                   Session Four  --  Microbiology             

           Designing Your Planet's Microbiology     

Here are some hints on how to put this part of your project together.

For this assignment you will describe and draw your planet's earliest life forms.

Think about the life forms you are planning to have so that you will be sure to have a good place for them to live!

Download: Gif Construction Set Pro at can use this program to animate your microbes and other graphics that you create.  This program provides a tutorial at the web site.

If you are making web pages, be sure to check Rubric 4 for information on how to create this page.

If you are in the PowerPoint group, check your rubric here.

Your page should deal with the following topics:

1. The Environment

Where did life begin on your planet? Possibilities on earth include the deep sea, volcanic eruption zones, and shallow seas.

2. Describe Your Early Life Forms

You and your group will work together to plan what your life forms will look like, how they will function, and how they will get energy. Remember that on earth there are three groups of life forms: primary producers, who synthesize their own food (autotrophs, called plants in complex organisms), consumers who eat the primary producers and each other (heterotrophs, called animals if they are complex organisms). and decomposers, who recycle dead organic material by breaking it down into simple chemical compounds that the primary producers can use. (Fungi, soil bacteria, etc) The decomposers are also heterotrophs, because they are dependent on primary producers to make the food that they eat.  Energy capture is necessary for survival.

3. Describe Development and Adaptation of Your Life Forms

Your single celled life forms will develop in a stable and well defined environment. Eventually they will have opportunities to diversify into other environments with different temperatures and slightly different water chemistry. They will develop into organisms with different shapes and sizes. They will develop ways to move, reproduce, and capture energy. Some may even combine to make an organism with better survival prospects. Play with the ideas a little bit and see what you come up with. Check out In the Details: Variation Among Unicellular Life Forms for some examples from Planet Earth. Make a chart that shows a parent species and some life forms that could have descended from it. Describe how the changes in the new species aid their survival.

4. How Your Life Forms Reproduce and Survive

Life forms must be able to reproduce themselves. Describe how your life forms replicate themselves. Do they have some way to survive dangerous changes in their environment?

5. Describe Senses and Behaviors that Enhance Survival

Unicellular organisms don't have "senses" as we understand the word, but they are sensitive to their environments. Their cell walls allow some chemicals to pass into the cell and keep other chemicals out. Some of these tiny organisms will move toward light. What information do your life forms gather from the environment?

Add links to Chapter Five and  to the Table of Contents.



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