Mostly Microbes – Early Semester


    I learned a lot from (Professor Becky) about how to answer lots of questions during a lesson, how to handle questions I don’t know the answer to and how to appreciate the spectacular, but sometimes distracting ‘what if’ questions that come up every day as we homeschool. It kind of normalized the world of highly gifted. It’s one thing to read about it, another to see it all in action with other kids besides my own!~Parent S.E.


    Class Full

    InstructorProf. Becky Mentzer Riethmeier
    Content LevelsGrades 7-8 • Junior High
    Grades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Course Length8 Weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnMondays, 2:00 - 2:50 PM Pacific - Early Semester - 8/14/23 - 10/14/23

    In Mostly Microbes, meet the myriad of microscopic organisms that usually escape our daily notice. They may be living in your intestines, on your eyelashes, in your garden, or even in acidic hot springs with 180 degree temperatures!

    We will take a taxonomic approach and look at bacteria, archaea (bacteria-like organisms that live in extreme habitats like hot springs and deep sea vents), protists, fungi, microscopic animals and even viruses (technically not considered alive), how they are classified, and how they relate to each other. Our immune response to some of these most irritating organisms will also be examined.

    If you want to discover what lives just out of sight, this is the science class for you!

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • Complete a reading from the a provided Internet link.
    • Participate in a weekly forum, either sharing their reflections from the reading, or answering questions about it.
    • Review the material.

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:

    • To excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter, curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided.
    • Our last week is “student presentation week” where students learn about a microscopic animal and teach their classmates about it!

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • Primary instruction and guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Read at a solid 7th grade level or above.
    • Write a paragraph independently.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • Links to the required readings will be available in the classroom, including selections from the following: