Tardigrades… Water Bears… Moss Piglets.. What?


So What Exactly IS a Tardigrade?

A Tardigrade (also known as “water bears” or “moss piglets”) is a microscopic organism that can survive extreme heat, cold, pressure, no water, no air, and any other insane circumstance you can throw at it.  They are short and plump. They can live in volcanoes and even endure outer space.  There have even been recorded instances of Tardigrades being found in moss kept in a museum for 100 years.  When scientists added water to it…. Tardigrades appeared!  They are the most indestructible organism on Planet Earth.

Click here to access “First Animal to Survive in Space” an 8 min video about Tardigrades


So where do we find them?

If you have moss or lichen growing around your school grounds, you (and your students) will probably find some!  All you have to do is:

  • Grab some moss or lichen
  • Soak it in distilled water or rain water for 3-24 hours
  • Squeeze the water into a dish or container
  • Use a pipette to transfer some of this water onto a microscope slide
  • Place under the microscope and go on a “water bear” hunt 🙂

Students love it!  

clip tardigrades

I drew Sketch Notes to accompany this lab for one of my teacher friends.  You can find them (and 1 pg Student Notes for Tardigrades) in my TpT store at this link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tardigrades-aka-Water-Bears-Sketch-Notes-WTeachers-Guide-Student-Notes-3688006

Here are some links to current articles on the newest Tardigrade species found in a parking lot in Japan just this week:

National Geographic Article:


Science Alert Article:


USA Today Article:


Newsweek Article:


Scientific American Article:



About Edgy Instruction

Science Teacher (Biology, AP Biology, and Forensic Science), Anatomy Professor, and former Instructional coach.
This entry was posted in biology, Sketch Notes, Teaching and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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