The perfect germ science tasks and experiments
Today children hear a lot about how to fight the spread of germs to stay healthy. Hands-on learning is one of the best ways to really bring this conversation to life and keep it going. These germ science projects and experiments for grades K-5 help students find out what germs really are and how we can protect ourselves from them. Get ready for some good, clean science fun!
1. Create 3D virus models
Let children research different types of germs such as bacteria and viruses. Then provide different materials and ask them to construct 3D models of specific germs. Older children can make more detailed models, like the stunning examples shown here. Younger children can make simple Play-Doh models like Reaching Happy’s.
2. Create edible bacterial models
Raid the kitchen for this germ research project! First fill petri dishes (or small flat containers) with Jell-O. When it starts to set, add different candies and nuts to represent different types of bacteria. Learn more from STEAMsational.
3. Use glitter to simulate germs
Anyone who has ever used glitter on a craft project knows how hard it is to get rid of it once it’s out of the bottle. That makes it the perfect proxy for germs! Sprinkle glitter on some students’ hands, making sure it gets under their nails and even on their wrists. Have them shake hands with other kids to see germs spread, then go to the sink to try to wash off the glitter. It takes real effort! Learn more about Gift of Curiosity or watch our video in action here!
4. Sprinkle flour “germs” on toys
You don’t want to risk glitter contamination of your entire classroom? Try this demo with flour or cornstarch instead. Start by sprinkling it on some toys, then ask a student to pick up the toy for a few seconds. Then, let them look at their own hands and imagine the flour spreading germs. You can let other children play with the toys or you can shake hands. This is a good start to a fuller discussion about germs and hand washing. Get the entire Lysol Free Lesson Plan here.
5. Show the effects of soap
This is one of our germ research projects that also teaches children about surface tension. Sprinkle glitter on the surface of a shallow bowl of water to represent germs. Drizzle a few drops of dish soap on the surface and watch the glitter germs spread to the side. Explain that the soap breaks the surface tension that keeps the glitter in place, and that’s one reason why it helps clean your hands as well. Discover this project at Living Life & Learning.
6. Learn the best ways to clean your hands
We spend a lot of time telling kids to wash their hands these days, so use this germ science experiment to find out how important it really is. Have the children try different hand washing methods, such as: B. Hand sanitizer, water only, hot water and soap, etc. Then use your fingers to touch the agar on a petri dish. Let the dishes sit for a few days to see the results. Discover the details at STEAMsational.
7. Use bread instead of petri dishes
You don’t need special equipment for a good germ science experiment. Try bread instead! One teacher’s class was downright appalled by how dirty their Chromebooks were, as this Buzzfeed article proves. Try it for yourself and find out where the dirtiest spots are in your classroom!
8. Try Bill Nye’s mask experiment
Bill Nye went viral (well, not literally) when he posted this TikTok video demonstrating the effectiveness of face masks. Recreate the experiment yourself and talk about how some germs spread by breathing, sneezing, or coughing instead of touching surfaces or other people.
9. Simulate an immune system response
If germs make it into our body, the immune system is ready! Try this experiment with salt, iron filings, and magnetic tape to learn how antibodies bind to invading pathogens. Students will see the initial immune system response and the stronger secondary response, which is a great way to explain how vaccines work, too. See how it’s done at Science Buddies.
Are you looking for more germ research and educational resources projects? Check out Lysol for Healthy Schools HERE.
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