“Germs, Germs Everywhere!!!”
At the young age of five or six years olds, students have a slight awareness of germs and sickness, as they have probably experienced illness before in their lives. In this lesson, in order to appeal to all learning styles, students will be physically experiencing the spread of germs as they shake hands with one another, hence spreading the “glitter germs” from one student to another. Students to investigate and experiment in order to figure out if just a paper towel, water and a paper towel, or soap, water, and a paper towel is most effective in removing germs from hands.
Though this lesson plan does not meet any California Science Content Standards for Kindergarten other than in investigation and experimentation, it meets National Health Standards and incorporates writing and mathematics into an important health lesson for young students.
This lesson meets the following National Health Standards for Pre-K through Second Grade:
1.2.1. identify that healthy behaviors impact personal health
1.2.2 recognize that there are multiple dimensions of health
1.2.3 describe ways to prevent communicable diseases
This lesson also meets the following California State Content Standards for Kindergarten:
Science—Investigation and Experimentation
e. Communicate observations orally and through drawings
1.1 Use letters and phonetically spelled words to write about experiences, stories, people, objects, or events.
1.2 Write consonant-vowel-consonant words (i.e., demonstrate the alphabetic principle).
1.3 Write by moving from left to right and from top to bottom.
1.4 Write uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet independently, attending to the form and proper spacing of the letters.
*Standards taken from www.cde.ca.gov à the California Department of Education website*
In a whole group setting, ask students to raise their hand if they have ever been sick before. Ask them what it felt like to be sick. Did they like that feeling? Did it take awhile to start feeling better? Tell the students that when we get sick, it is because germs get into our bodies and start to make us not feel well. In school, there are lots of germs around because there are so many friends and so many things to touch. Tell the students that in school we have to be EXTRA careful about making sure germs do not get into our bodies. Ask the students to brainstorm ideas about how we can prevent germs in the classroom. Brainstorm some of their ideas on the board. Once there are four or five ideas (hopefully one of them was to wash our hands), point out that today, we are going to figure out how we can keep germs from getting all over our things, and we might have even predicted that we would be learning about this today!
Direct Instruction and Guided Practice: Input, Modeling, Checking for Understanding
1) Have students sit in a big circle on the colored carpet. Tell the students that they have to be using their best listening ears in order for us to be scientists today. Have the students take out their pretend lab coats and put on their pretend goggles as we are going to be super scientists and work with REAL glitter germs today!
2) Once students are seated quietly, tell the students you need them to use their scientific imaginations because today you have magic glitter germs that the students are going to pass around. Be careful! Don’t touch your eyes or mouth! We don’t want the magic glitter germs to get in our bodies.
3) Walk around and put a little bit of lotion on each students hands. Have the students rub the lotion into their hands. Pair up each student with the person next to them.
4) Assign one student of each pair to be “green” and one to be “yellow”. Pour a small amount of green glitter onto the first students hands, and then a small amount of yellow glitter onto the other students’ hands. Be careful! There are magic glitter germs on our hands RIGHT now!
5) Point out to the students that we have germs on our hands every day, just like we do right now. Magic glitter germs we can see, but regular germs we cannot. Tell the students we are going to be super scientists and experiment to see if germs spread to other places if we touch them. Have the paired students shake hands with one another. Glitter should spread from one student to another. Then turn to another friend and shake hands. Tell the students to think in their heads about what they are noticing is happening as they touch their friends.
6) Show students a pencil that you have up front, and ask one student to come and touch the pencil to see if germs will stick to it. Do the same with other every day objects to demonstrate the spread of germs.
7) Once students’ attention is back on you, ask students for ideas of what we can do to get these germs off!! HYPOTHESIZE on a white board or poster board to see what students think a paper towel, water, or water and soap will get off all of the germs. Mark students’ answers.
8) Okay, time to experiment and test our hypotheses!!! Hold up a paper towel and ask for one volunteer to experiment and see whether or not a paper towel will get our germs off. Allow this student to experiment, and have other students take note in their heads.
9) Next, either send one student to the sink or hold up a wet paper towel (water), and do the same.
10) Lastly, students should be noticing that nothing has taken off all of the germs yet! Send one student back to the sink to use soap and water to try to get off ALL of the germs. When this is successful, show students that some of their hypotheses were right! It takes soap AND water to get all of our germs off!
11) Ask students for ideas about times when we need to wash our hands. Students should mention many times in the day when we need to wash… before eating, after snack, after going to the bathroom, etc.
Remind students that germs are EVERYWHERE!!! In order to stay healthy we need to WASH OUR HANDS with SOAP AND WATER!!! Reinforce this concept many times as you send students back to the sink to wash their hands with soap and water to remove their germs. Ask students to remember what they have learned about germs and when they need to wash for a follow-up writing activity.
Writing is something we do in the classroom every day. Both at centers and often times during whole group activities, students are asked to use what they have learned to formulate sentences on paper. Writing is used across all curricular areas, and hence is something that really MUST be practiced every day at this age. In order to incorporate another curricular area into this lesson, have students (either after the lesson or the next day) write two to three sentences about germs. Remind students about what they learned, and inform them that this writing activity (which can also act as an assessment for the lesson) will show the teacher what they learned as scientists. Students may write about washing hands or how to prevent getting sick. Watch for students’ proofreading and paying attention to concepts of print. This will tie in the writing practice to the lesson, and help meet such standards. This activity may also be sent home as a homework assignment. Students could also keep a record of how many times a day they wash their hands at home as an extension activity.
*Adaptations should be made based on students’ needs. Students will be challenged based on their absorbency of the lesson as it happens, and the writing progress that student has made in the year thus far. Pre-adaptations are based on ELD needs (picture cards, modeling, and reinforcement) and leveled grouping.*