By visiting three stations, each equipped with microscopes, slides, live materials and various supplies arranged by the teacher, students will observe three symbiotic relationships involving microbes. Students will prepare wet mounts to observe the microbial symbionts found in the termite gut, lichen, and Rhizobium root nodules.

"I Can't Live Without You!" (PDF)


Intended Audience








Learning Objectives

After completing this activity, students will be able to:

  1. Describe different types of symbiotic relationships.
  2. Identify three mutually symbiotic relationships involving a microbe and another microbe, an animal, or a plant.
  3. Describe the microbial symbionts in the termite gut, a lichen, and a legume.
  4. Identify how these symbiotic relationships benefit both partners.
  5. Transfer and apply the principles presented in this activity to other examples of symbiosis.
  6. Prepare a wet mount slide of termite hindgut to observe endosymbionts.
  7. Use the squash technique to prepare lichen and root nodules.


Student Background

None required.



Ecology, Microbial Ecology, Endosymbiosis, Evolution, Microbial Interactions


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