Our Germs Will Not Spread

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Students will be able to sequence the steps to proper hand washing.

Big Idea

Students sequence steps to an everyday healthy routine.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

The students then clear their space and walk to take a seat on their assigned spot on the rug.

I ask the students if they know what a germ is. “Who can tell me what a germ is?” Most students who raise their hand will tell you that a germ is something that can make you sick.

Now I ask the students if they know how a germ is spread. “Who can tell me how germs spread?” Some students might be able to answer this question, but many cannot.

I tell the students they are about to meet my friend Bob the sock and he is going to show us how germs spread. 


45 minutes

For this activity you will need an old sock with a face drawn on it, black paper, a black ball point pen and a mixture of talcum powder and glitter (I like to use gold or silver as these colors stand out against the black paper better).

I have the students come over to the big table in my classroom. The smaller students I have sit in chairs while the taller students stand behind them. I direct the students’ attention to the black paper which I have already laid down on the table. “This black paper will help us to see the “germs” which Bob and I are about to show you.”

I place the sock puppet on my hand and give him a very stuffy voice. “Hi, my name is Bob and I have germs cause I have a cold. I like to share my germs ‘cause I have no manners. Want to see me share my germs?” Introducing Bob

The students are usually pretty excited and curious by this and are dying to see Bob share his germs. While the students are watching I put a small handful of the glitter/powder mixture into the sock puppets mouth. Now I ask Bob “Are you ready to show the students how you like to share?” Bob nods his head vigorously. “Okay. Everybody pretend you are going to sneeze and then Bob can sneeze with us. Ready? Ah, Ah, Ah choo!” Bob coughs

At this point I open the socket puppets mouth with a slight flick and the glitter/powder mixture shoots out across the black paper on the table. The students usually jump back a little in surprise but laugh when they see all of the glitter and powder spread across the paper.

Now I ask if there is a volunteer who is willing to touch the “germs” on the table. There is usually plenty of students who want to so I select a fair stick (a fair stick is a popsicle stick with a student’s name on it which is kept in a container with everyone else’s fair stick). I ask that person to reach out and place their hand on the black paper like they were leaning over to get something on the other side of the table. “Now Jo, hold up your hand for us all to see.” There is usually quite a bit of powder and glitter on it. The first touch  I have germs

Next I ask that student to shake hands with a friend. “Now Bryan, you hold up your hand for us all to see.” There is usually a little of the mixture.

I ask that student to shake hands with one more friend. “Now Sebastian, you hold up your hand.” There is a tiny amount on this hand.

“Boys and girls what do you think will happen if I tell everyone it is snack time and one of these students’ does not wash their hands?”

“Your right; they will get some of the germs on their food and then the food will go into their system and they will get sick.”

“Now look what happens if I put my pen down on the table and someone else picks it up.”

I place the black ball point pen on the table and ask a student to pick it up. “Hamish please pass the pen to a friend.” “Hamish and Sean please look at your hands and then show them to the rest of the class.”

This lesson is a very good way to give the students an excellent visual on how easy it is for germs to spread in the classroom.

At this point in the lesson I ask the students to focus their attention back onto Bob as he is going to show them the correct way to cough or sneeze. First I ask them, “What do you think will happen if I sneeze into my hand?” Most students will be able to tell you the germs will spread because you will touch things. If time allows I give a brief demonstration.

I tell the students, “Watch what happens when I have Bob sneeze the correct way into my elbow.” I repeat the procedure I used above where the students acted out sneezing along with Bob. This time he sneezes into my elbow. “Do I touch anything with my elbow?”

“No, you’re right I do not. Here is a simple rhyme to remember how to cough or sneeze into your elbow.”

“Pretend you are a super hero with a cape and you are masking your identity from the public so you pull your cape across the front of your body to cover your face.”

“Now repeat after me;

Be an awesome super hero,

Cut germ spreading down to zero.”

We practice it a couple of times.

Now it is time to gather the students back on the rug. I do this by singing the Spot on Your Dot Song.

Once the students are sitting back on the rug I tell them that half of the class will be going with Nurse Angle to learn the proper way to wash their hands and the other half will stay with me to listen to the book Germs Are Not for Sharing, written by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marieka Heinlen. 

I usually have the boys go first with the nurse while the girls stay on the rug.


Once both groups have had a turn going with Nurse Angle to the wellness center to learn the proper procedure to wash your hands, and they have listened to the story where the same process is explained, I set up the SMARTBoard ready for the students to repeat the process to me.

“Okay boys and girls, now that you have been taught the proper routine to follow to wash your hands, I want you to be the teacher and tell me how you would explain the steps to a new student in kindergarten.”

I use the fair sticks to call on students to give me the correct sequence.

When we have finished putting the steps into the correct sequence I tell the students that they are now going to complete a worksheet. They will need to sequence the pictures of the Hand washing Steps in the correct order. The attached sheet actually has the pictures in order. I have a volunteer or my para cut the pictures apart and place them in containers on the table. The containers are out of order.  Hand washing sequence  


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.

“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, place your work in the correct bin and use walking feet to take a spot on your dot. Walking feet, go.”

Students know to place their work in either the “finished work” bin or the “under construction” bin. Work in the “under construction” bin can be completed later in the day when the student finds they have spare time to fill in.


Once the students are seated on their spot on the rug I tell them that their exit ticket for today is to share with the class one way we can stop the spread of germs both here in the classroom and at home.


“For today’s exit ticket you need to share with us one way you can stop the spread of germs. When you have shared a germ stopping method with us you can use the hand sanitizer and get your snack.”

I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.

If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on a method together.

I use this exit ticket process as a way for the students to communicate one of the pieces of information they learned by explaining to me one way they can stop the spreading of germs. Through this explanation process I can see who is able to obtain information and retain the information learned on a given topic.


Later in the day we watch Washing Hands from the Brain Pop Jr. website to reinforce the lesson we had in the morning. 



5 minutes

I will keep a copy of the student’s worksheet for his/her portfolio and for my record of the student’s ability to sequence a series of steps correctly.

I will also have the students come over to me one at a time during either work station time or free choice center time to model the steps of the hand washing process at our classroom sink. I will use photos and anecdotal notes to record what he/she models and tells me. 


Have the students make a germ painting. We do this by looking at a variety of different germ pictures on the SMARTBoard. Next we use three different colors of paint and place a spoonful of each in the center of a large piece of paper. The students’ then fold the paper in half and rub it all over on one side. When they have finished rubbing we open the paper and sprinkle a little glitter on it. Once the painting is dry we cut around the edges and it looks like a “germ.” We place our “germs” up on our bulletin board with the title “Our Germs Will Not Spread.”