Sometimes a good example is better than words, especially when it comes to explaining something to children. This is exactly what Jaralee Metcalf, an Idaho teacher, decided to do to show students the importance of proper handwashing. And now the whole world is following her example!
Here We were so impressed by the simplicity and clarity of the project that we couldn’t stop talking about it.
At the beginning of winter, when the flu season had just begun, Jaralee Metcalf, a behavior specialist at Idaho Falls Elementary School, shared that she was tired of always being sick.
Although the spread of bacteria in her class was inevitable, she wanted to show children why they needed to wash their hands to kill germs.
Jaralee Metcalf Bread Experiment
The Purpose Of The Experiment
To explain how bacteria spread and why it is important to wash hands well, Jaralee created a simple classroom activity with her students.
She asked several children with different levels of hand-cleaning to touch 5 pieces of white bread that were taken from the same loaf.
Then they put the bread in individual plastic bags to see what would happen in the course of a month.
Steps Of The Project
“We take fresh bread and touch it.” – explains Jaralee in her Facebook post that was shared 70K times.
The first piece was rubbed on every laptop in the classroom. The second was a control piece: it was not touched, it was immediately placed in the plastic bag and identified as “Fresh and untouched”.
The third piece of bread was touched by the whole class with their hands unwashed. For piece 4, the entire class washed their hands with warm soapy water and again touched the slice.
And for a piece of bread # 5, they washed their hands with hand sanitizer and then touched it.
A Slice Wiped On Laptops
A month later, the rubbed cut on the Chromebook looked worse than all the other samples. As the teacher explains, at their school they do sanitize the laptops, obviously, they did not do that in the project.
The Effect Of Soap And Warm Water
The only slice of bread that did not contain the obvious bacteria was Example # 4. It was the one touched by hands that were washed in warm soapy water, which clearly showed children why they should wash their hands frequently.
The “Dirty Hands” Slice
Example 3, the “dirty hands” cut, was covered by spectacular mold growth a month later and needed no further explanation.
The “Hand Sanitizer” Slice
An interesting thing is that sample number 5, the “hand sanitizer” slice, also has a lot of bacteria. Therefore, this is a clear example that hand sanitizer cannot replace proper handwashing with soap.
Jaralee shared the results of the project on Facebook to tell parents that they teach their children how to wash their hands well, and this simple project immediately spread to hundreds of other schools and families.
The slice of hand sanitizer gave us a little shake! How about you? How do you teach your children that they need to wash their hands properly? We will be happy to hear from you in the comment section below.
Preview photo credit Jaralee Annice Metcalf / facebook