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is not enough to simply explain to students that germs are everywhere.
Because germs are so tiny and can't be seen, children will quickly dismiss
that they exist at all. To reinforce just how prevalent germs really are,
try out one of the exercises below with your students. Beware though -
this will also enforce in your own mind the existence of germs in your
classroom - Teachnet.Com can not be held responsible for the disappearance
of bottles of Purell from your local grocer's shelves!
For a quick lesson with instant results, cover a pencil with glue, then
sprinkle glitter all over the glue. Pass the pencil around the room (yes,
this one's a little messy!) and watch the glittering "germs"
spread from one student to the next. If you wipe the pencil off with a
paper towel, some of the germs will still remain. This is why it is important
to actually WASH the pencil (and everyone's hands) with soap and water
to effectively remove the germs. You can expect at least one of your students
to touch something else once they have glitter on their hands. Glitter
on a desk, one their face, or in their hair is an even better example
of how easy it is to spread germs.
Also, as an alternative to glitter, one T2T
contributor writes: "You can simulate germs on the hands very nicely
by spraying Pam on their hands then sprinkling with paprika. Have them
wash them off in cold water, versus hot water and soap." -Alice
Making "invisible" germs appear!
You will first need to obtain a blacklight for this demonstration. Close
up the blinds in your classroom and cover and windows that might let in
light from a hallway. (This will keep sunlight out when you turn off the
lights later and turn on the blacklight.) Using regular chalk or colored
fluorescent chalk, grate the chalk into a powder using a cheese grater.
If you have a little extra cash for this project, visit your local hobby
or party store for glow-in-the-dark powder. Test your "germs"
to make sure they "glow" when you turn the blacklight on. Have
students put the chalk on their hands, then go about their regular activities.
This will give the chalk a chance to spread around the room. Another alternative
would be for you to scatter chalk around the room before the students
come in. Put it on desks, books, etc. Then they will spread the chalk
dust without realizing it is part of the lesson. When you turn the lights
out and the black light on, you will be able to see just how much these
"germs" have spread!
This is a great lesson especially when you have recently overcome a wave
of colds or the flu. It helps reinforce the importance of washing hands
frequently, especially after blowing your nose or coughing. When you have
younger children that like to chew on pencils or put their fingers in
their mouths, this may also make them think twice - they never know what
kind of germs they may be eating!
For more on germs, visit:
the Virology on the WWW
- Virus Images
You can demostrate
how germs spread by using cold cooked rice. Show the children how after
touching the rice it will stick to your hands and spread as they touch
people or objects. Connie Port Neches, Texas
Louis Pasteur discovered
that most infectious diseases are caused by germs, known as the "germ
theory of disease", is one of the most important in medical history.
Pasteur was responsible for changes in hospital practices that reduced
the spread of disease by microbes. He discovered that weakened forms of
a microbe could also be used as immunization as the full-strength version
of the same microbes. He developed the first rabies vaccinations which
were used to vaccinate dogs and treat humans that were bitten by rabid
dogs. He also developed "pasteurization", a process by which
harmful microbes in perishable food products are destroyed using heat,
without destroying the food.
"I beseech you
to take interest in these sacred domains so expressively called laboratories.
Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are the temples
of the future, wealth and well-being. It is here that humanity will grow,
strengthen and improve. Here, humanity will learn to read progress and
individual harmony in the works of nature, while humanity's own works
are all too often those of barbarism, fanaticism and destruction."
-- Louis Pasteur