I'm introducing germs to my (newly) 6 year-old, Caleb this week. I'm still making him wash his hands after going to the bathroom, take baths, and cover his mouth when he sneezes and coughs. But we started a unit on Germs this week.
If you are considering doing a germ unit, you could give your child a cold by handing them a giant cold microbe, which is a small "stuffed animal" but is in the shape of a specific germ. He-he.
To begin our our journey on Germs, we read the Book, A Germ's Journey. After reading books geared to young kids about germs, I've learned to be careful to look for scientific accuracy. In an attempt to simplify, some authors leave students with some incorrect assumptions. The misconception that concerns me most is that "All germs" are bad. Germs (which could be viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mold), is the term we use with a negative connotation, but not all of these microbes are bad, or do harm. Yogart and yeast are both used in cooking. We love "germs" needed for decomposition, and those that live as normal flora in our intestinal track and help us digest things we can't otherwise take care of. You could say that although I practice aseptic technique when appropriate, I am a Pro-prokaryote. (Prokaryote is another name for bacteria!)
However, A Germ's Journey, is written by a medical doctor, is wonderfully written with an engaging plot. Rudy is getting a cold, and we follow the germs that are multiplying in his nose. My son loves the speech bubbles of the germs throughout the book. Every page gets a laugh! But Mom likes the solid science concepts taught (with possible misconceptions addressed in the lower right-hand corner of each page).
Important concepts addressed in A Germ's Journey:
- Germs hang out on surfaces and you pick them up as you touch those surfaces
- Skin is your first defense against germs
- Noses, eyes, and mouths are the best way for germs to "get in"
- Germs multiply until they deplete their resources, then need a new place to live!
- You can still infect others, even if you're feeling well
We've also watched several videos that introduce what happens when you sneeze! Good for a laugh, but also shows kids how far saliva (your spit) along with the germs found there can travel. See what you think of these!
A Sneeze in real time, and in high definition slow motion!
MythBusters: How Far does a Sneeze Go? And Testing Which Method (hand over mouth, into elbow, or hankie) Best Contains a Sneeze?
You gotta love Myth Busters when it comes to this sort of thing. It really shows that sneezing into your arm is the BEST way to contain those germs!
I am please to again be working with Andrea from No Doubt Learning and Erin from The Usual Mayhem on this K-1 Germ Unit! So be sure to stop by and see what they're doing this week! You may also want to take a peek at our Germ-Themed Pinterest Board that we are using to coordinate our planning. At the end of the unit (3 weeks), we will also provide a Google Doc that has all the free resources you can use for planning your own Germ lessons.