Instructions - You can type your answers directly onto this website.  This will NOT save your work.  Once you are completed please print out this webpage. 

Exploring Protists

Big Idea:  Microbes play a critical role in the natural world.

Essential Questions

  • What is a microbe?
  • What are the characteristics of different microbes?
  • How do microbes play a role in their environments?
  • How do the characteristics of microbes relate to the characteristics of life?
  • How can microbes be beneficial or harmful?

Enduring Understandings

  • Microbes come in a variety of different types of living cells and biological particles.
  • Some microbes are prokaryotic while others are eukaryotic.
  • Microbes can have positive and negative interactions within their environments.
  • Microbes play a critical role in maintaining the environment for other organisms.

Core Knowledge

  • Protists and fungi are microbes that are eukaryotic organisms.
  • Protists include a variety of eukaryotic cells that do not fit into any other category of eukaryotes and are classified by the way they obtain nutrition.


Kelp Forest Activity   
Kelp Forest video clip - Click on Play button...must listen - need headphones


Tour the Kelp Forest exhibit from the inside with one of our “underwater gardeners,” and see how we use live kelp plants to create this famous Aquarium centerpiece.

Giant kelp belongs to a diverse group of organisms called algae. Simpler than most land plants, algae have no roots, stems, leaves or flowers. They range in size from microscopic cells to 100-foot-tall giant kelp.

Kingdom Protists

There are many types of protists, but organisms in this kingdom only have a few things in common:


They are Eukaryotes.

A eukaryote is an organism that has cells that has a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles. 


They typically live in water-based environments. Most protists are unicellular (made of only one cell) and can live in colonies.  But there are some protists are are multicellular (containing more than one cell).   

Are protists prokaryotes or eukaryotes?


What is a eukaryote?


What type of environment would you typically find protists living?


Are all protists unicellular? yes or no


Obtaining Food / Nutrition / Energy

Protists have a few different methods of obtaining nutrition (food):


How do the heterotroph protists obtain their food?


How do the autotroph protists get their food?


What is an example of a protist that can do both autotrophic and heterotrophic methods of obtaining food?



What is an example of a protist that absorbs their food?


What is an example of a protist that makes their own food?


Classifying Protists

Protists are classified by how they obtain food.  Protists are organized into three main groups:

How are protists classified?


Animal - Like Protists - Protozoa

Animal - like protists are often called Protozoa.  Scientists classify them by the way they move around


What are the animal-like protists often called?

How do they obtain their food / energy?

How are they classified?



Methods of Protozoa movement:

Cilia small hair-like projections all around the organism
Flagella long, thin, whip-like structure
Pseudopodia "false feet" - temporary extensions of a cell's cytoplasm that help them move around and change their shapes to absorb their food
Parasites move along with the host they invaded


What is the method of movement that uses a long, whip-like tail?

What is the method of movement that uses "false feet"?

What are cilia?


Types of Protozoa:

Phylum Sarcodina Phylum Ciliophora Phylum Zoomastingina Phylum Sporozoa
Common Name - Sarcodines Common Name - Ciliates Common Name - Zooflagellates Common Name - Sporozoan
Move by using Pseudopodia Move by using Cilia Move by using Flagella Adults do not move
Example:  Amebas 


Example:  Paramecium

Example: Trypanosoma
(causes African Sleeping Sickness)


Example: Plasmodium
(causes Malaria)


What is an example of a protozoa that uses a flagella for movement?

What type of protist phylum uses cilia? 


Plant/Algal - Like Protists 

Plant/Algal-like protists are eukaryotes that are similar to plants.  Scientists classify these protists by the color of their pigments.

Green Algae Brown Algae Red Algae Diatoms Dinoflagellates Golden Algae Euglena

What are plant/algal-like protists similar to?

How are they classified?

How do they obtain food/energy? 
autotroph or heterotroph?

What do they do for the environment?

Why are they not plants?


Fungal - Like Protists 


Fungal-like protists are multi-cellular eukaryotes that are absorptive heterotrophs.

Are funal-like protists unicellular OR multi-cellular?

How do they obtain their food?

What is the job of the fungal-like protists?

Give an example of a fungal-like protist.


Protists - Review

Click on the box you choose for the correct answer for each question.

Protists are

Prokaryote, water based organisms
Eukaryote, water based organisms
Prokaryote, land based organisms
Eukaryote, land based organisms


Animal-like protists are often called



Animal-like protists are classified by

The way they move.
What they eat.


Plant/Algal-like protists are



Plant/Algal-like protists are classified by

Color of Pigments


Fungal-like protists help the environment by

Decomposing organic matter
Producing oxygen
Producing carbon dioxide
Producing spores



What was the most interesting thing you learned about from this activity? I want a good answer please.


How could this activity / lesson be improved? Again I want honest good answers.


Please print out this webpage once you have typed in all your responses....Don't forget to type in your name at the top! 


Copyright 2011 - Gina Isabelli - Central High School - Champaign, IL - Sophomore Biology