Germ Outbreak

Germ Outbreak

Learning about the importance of washing our hands and doing an experiment to show how germs spread from your hands.

30 mins x 3 sessions

Curriculum for Excellence

  • HWB 1-33a - I am becoming aware of how cleanliness, hygiene and safety can affect health and wellbeing and I apply this knowledge in my everyday routines such as taking care of my teeth.

Learning intentions / Success criteria

  • We are learning the importance of washing hands correctly.
  • We are learning how easily different germs can spread.
  • I can explain and show when to wash hands and how different germs can spread.



Warm up and introduction.


  • Why do we need to wash our hands?
  • How do germs spread around the school/house – use chalk experiment to show.

Chalk experiment

  • Chalk/glitter/paint on children’s hands (different colours represent a different germ that has been touched).
  • Pupils are then allowed 5 minutes to play or go about their usual routine in the classroom before everyone gathers back together to discuss the results.

Discussion of results of warm up

  • Discuss what has happened to the chalk and how can we relate that to germs.

Bread experiment

Introduce and then explain the bread experiment:

  • 3 slices of bread put into sealed bags:
    • 1 x control (untouched)
    • 1 x passed around class (pupils unwashed hands)
    • 1 x touched by pupils after washing their hands
  • label each bag
  • place in a cupboard and leave for 1 week
  • discuss what pupils expect to happen to the 3 slices of bread
  • revisit bread after one week and discuss what they thought would happen compared to what has happened.

One week later:

  • focus on difference between pieces of bread and how different foods can be affected when hands are not washed correctly and how germs can be spread by unclean hands.

Assessment Opportunities

SAY – I can explain and show how and when to wash hands and how different germs can spread.

Consider CfE Benchmarks, for example:

  • Explains the important of daily hygiene routines, for example, hand washing, teeth brushing and body cleanliness.

Cross-Curricular Links

Science – change in bread

Literacy – listening and talking

Functional writing – writing facts of outbreak / poster design

Art – poster design

ICT – iPad / iMovie

The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) offers secondary schools in Scotland the opportunity to become registered with the Institute to deliver some of the REHIS qualifications – see   For information on the REHIS Schools Food Hygiene Initiative contact REHIS

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