Two second grade teachers and I sat down to co-plan an upcoming health lesson. The unit that they have just begun in Health is all about personal health—keeping healthy, preventing germs, making good choices, etc. We chose to take a lesson about germs and the importance of washing hands and make it a little more hands-on, so we could bring it to the Maker Lab!
We started the lesson talking about as a kid how it seems like a “pain” to have to wash hands all the time. They all agreed that washing hands is sometimes a pain. We continued the discussion about the importance of it and how it prevents sicknesses from spreading. The discussion continued for a few minutes. Next, I had the students go to a sink and wet their hands. Then they went to a paper plate full of glitter and dipped their hands in the glitter. The glitter represented the germs from sneezing or coughing. While each student dipped their hands in the glitter germs. The other students were to try to keep their hands in the air and “not spread the germs”. But, guess what??! Just as I thought would happen, the glitter was everywhere and a good visual for the students. They were so surprised how quickly the glitter spread. (Here’s a link to some resources I found to get this idea: https://www.columbus.gov/uploadedfiles/Public_Health/Content_Editors/Resources_For/Educators/Teaching%20young%20children%20handwashing.pdf)
The next part of the lesson, I split the class into three groups. One group went to wash hands at the sink with soap and water. Another group used only water, while the last group just wiped their hands on their pants. This was another great visual and many great discussions started. The children were so amazed what a difference the soap made!
After everyone had a chance to wash with soap and water, we gathered together and chatted about our observations. Then, the students washed a short video clip, called “The Sneeze”. This was another great example of how quickly germs spread and students were again surprised. (I am hoping that they will want to wash their hands even more after today’s activities) Here’s the youtube link to the video clip:
Then, I had the students go back to their seats to design their own germ. They sketched a germ and named it. I created a writing component to the “maker” part of the lesson. The students came up with 3 sentences with 3 details about what their germ could do. After their planning of the germ, they used some “maker materials” to make their germ come to life!
I think this lesson went really well. They got a lot out of it and made some real-world connections. Using glitter as germs was definitely “eye-opening” for these students. Now, I just need a vacuum! This lab is covered in glitter!