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Lesson Plan

Germs and the Importance of Washing Your Hands


English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)

Grade Levels

Elementary, Kindergarten


Students will observe what happens when bread is handled by dirty hands. They will also observe the results of bread touched by hands cleaned using different methods.


  • Germs! Germs! Germs! by Bobbi Katz
  • Five slices of white bread
  • sealable baggies
  • soap and water
  • hand sanitizer
  • hand wipes
  • Bread recording sheet
  • Cover and summary sheet
  • Title Page
  • Procedure

    • Read and discuss the book Germs. This book stresses that germs cannot be seen by the human eye. With the children, create a hypothesis to prove that germs are real.
    • Each child in the class touches the same slice of bread with unwashed hands. Place this slice in baggie and seal. Label: Dirty hands
    • Divide the class in four groups.
    • Group 1 will wash their hands with soap and water, touch a piece of bread, place in labeled baggie and seal.
    • Group 2 will clean their hands with hand sanitizer, touch a piece of bread, place in a labeled baggie and seal.
    • Group 3 will clean their hands with a hand wipe, touch a piece of bread and place in a labeled and sealed baggie.
    • The last slice of bread should not be touched by any hands, placed in a labeled baggie and sealed.
    Place the baggies of bread on a tray and observe every few days. Label your first page of bread worksheet -Day 1. When mold growth is observed, the children will use the bread worksheet and crayons to record the changes they observe in the bread. Continue your observations and recording of growth for several weeks. At the end of your observations, the children will be able to draw conclusions and write about them.


    The duration of the experiment will vary dependent upon the type of bread and conditions within the classroom.


    You will observe the children correctly recording the mold growth on their sheets and drawing correct conclusions on their summary sheet.


    We have found that the results are improved with the use of bread that does not contain preservatives. We have included sample recording sheets, cover, title page and summary sheet.


    Mary Charney and Beth Gates, Kindergarten Educators

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