The story

Now the new school year is in full swing how long will it be before the latest nasty pathogen sweeps through the corridors causing illness in both staff and students? Fingers crossed that the latest antibiotic resistant superbug decides not to further its education and stays out of schools.

However, as we know schools are magnets for outbreaks of contagious diseases and we could experience an increase in these according to biomedical expert Dr Ron Cutler (see weblink for full article). He wants schools to do more about spreading best practice about infection control so Dr Ron here is my contribution.

Teaching idea

Stopping the spread of infection in schools makes a great basis for a lesson about microbes, the transmission of disease and hygiene.

To start of the lesson you can ask students why it is important to wash their hands or show them one of the starter slides from the resource.  Then tell them they will be finding out just how good they are at washing those bugs off!

There are two ways of doing this.  For a quick and easy lesson you can use a product from the Glitterbug range (see weblink).  They have UV gel which the students rub all over their hands and then they wash their hands as best they can.  You can then use a UV light to show up where they didn’t wash so well and explain to them that the bacteria will be lurking in those places.  This approach works well with KS2 children.

For KS3 you can use agar plates to grow the bacteria which students love doing.  Again, ask them to wash their hands and then give them agar plates divided into four sections and labelled A-D (see image of dish).  The students then use cotton buds to rub over certain areas of their hands.  They then carefully rub the cotton bud over the agar and leave in a warm place for a day or two.  You can then study which areas Nykyisen pelin saannot vakiintuivat 1800-luvulla niiden myota peli nousi yhdeksi kaikkien aikojen suosituimmaksi kasinopeliksi . of their hands they washed well (or not) by looking at the growth of bacteria and fungi on the plates.  (Remember not to open them as some really nasty pathogens can be found lurking on children)

This links nicely into  the clean hands rap video which is a bunch of nurses rapping to tell you how to wash your hands properly (hence my attempt at a rhyming title this week).  This is quite possibly the most cringe-worthy thing on the web at the moment but if you can get your students rapping along and joining in with the dance then I’m sure they will enjoy it (maybe).

For an end to the lesson what asking the students to design posters/videos/their own raps for informing people at school why it is important to wash their hands properly.

If you have any great activities that you find works well with students when teaching about this topic then please share using the comments below.

Teaching resource

The powerpoint contains two slides – both of which can be used as starters to any lesson on the transmission of disease.

The first uses the reasons that Dr Cutler put forward as why school infections are on the increase (increased international travel, resistance to antibiotics and the effects of climate change) and asks students to discuss how these things have an effect.  The second is a more general discussion point which asks them to discuss how infection is spread.

Weblinks

News story of new superbug

Article of expert’s warning over growing infection risk

Glitterbug products

The clean hands rap

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