Student motivation in class is extremely important because it may lead to a successful learning experience, followed by academic accomplishment. As a strategy to motivate undergraduate students in a microbiology course, we established an awards system named the “Gold, Silver, and Bronze Petri Dish Awards in Microbiology.” The awards system was either offered or not to a group of students (N = 34 for both cohorts). Students who had the opportunity to receive an award obtained higher grades than those for whom the awards system was not implemented (P < 0.01). Course evaluations for the teachers who used the awards system were also higher. The awards system fostered learning of microbiology by undergraduate students.