A Firsthand Lesson on Colds, Flu & Infectious Disease


Priscilla Robinson headshotby:  Priscilla Robinson

Talking about Infectious Disease

These days, it’s hard not to hear reports about the spread of infectious disease, from serious viruses like Ebola to the “common” cold.  There are ads for flu shots and cold remedies, nightly media coverage about rampant epidemics all over the world, and pundits predicting whether these contagious diseases might someday get to this country.

So how is this affecting your students?  Are they asking questions?  Are they anxious about where these germs may be lurking, and whether they or their families are in any danger?

As a teacher, I’ve found that the science classroom is the perfect environment to help students understand the world around them.

A few years ago, my students and I survived an outbreak of the Swine Flu.  So many kids were getting sick that our school had to establish a quarantine room to isolate ill students until their parents could pick them up.  During this time, I set up stringent hand-washing techniques for students (and myself), as well as protocols for disinfecting desks, chairs and door handles.  Ultimately, my students had a lower rate of absences than their peers, and I stayed healthy as well.

Below you’ll find two fun and engaging classroom activities related to infectious disease transmission and prevention.  Try them with your students! Read the rest of this entry »


Glo Germ Powder


John Fedorsby: John Fedors

As infants become aware of their surroundings, fingers, toes, toys, pacifiers and other objects that can be handled, always end up in their mouths. It’s no wonder that parents become first fascinated, then concerned, and eventually oblivious for it seems almost everything ends up being “tasted”.

Alertness, curiosity, and fascination inspire investigation, which begins at an early age. Teachers encourage this direction and take advantage of it. Repetition of this experience should be reinforced and developed to become habitual. Children come to recognize, “It Makes Sense” .

Did you wash your hands? How many times have we heard this? How many times do we “forget”? This simple, though important task, must be difficult to instill, for so many fail to perform it.

We are continually reminded during our early lives and even as adults, that hand-washing must be difficult or of low priority, because we so often forget. It would seem that demonstrating the effectiveness of using soap and water should be encouraged!

Glo Germ powderThe use of Glo Germ powder may help to develop this habit.

When I mention this to teachers, most are aware of its uses, but many are not. Some teachers are aware because the school nurse or health teacher has demonstrated it in their class, then it is forgotten. Teachers have multiple opportunities to demonstrate and reinforce this awareness.

Glo-Germ is a nontoxic product, which simulates a microorganism. This product is not easily visible but fluoresces when exposed to UV light. It is used in hospitals, fast food chains, and schools to demonstrate the effectiveness of hand washing.

Suggested Uses or Demonstrations for Glo Germ powder:

Read the rest of this entry »