Ranch elementary first-graders conduct hand-washing experiment

 

First-grade students at Ranch Elementary School in Queen Creek practice how to conduct an experiment by learning the importance of washing their hands. (Courtesy of JO Combs Unified School District)

First-grade students at Ranch Elementary School in Queen Creek practice how to conduct an experiment by learning the importance of washing their hands. (Courtesy of JO Combs Unified School District)

 

In October, workers from the Pinal County Health Department paired up with Ranch Elementary School43521 N. Kenworthy Road, in San Tan Valley to teach the importance of washing one’s hands.

The health department liaison shared a short video with students about how germs are spread and how to prevent the spreading of germs. Students learned that the proper way to wash their hands is to use soap and water, scrub for at least 20 seconds and to clean in-between fingers and fingernails.

The first-grade team decided to investigate the theory of hand-washing and conducted a scientific experiment. The experiment was called “The Proof Is In the Potato.” To simulate a normal day, the students were instructed to play in the dirt and touch other surfaces. The students were then divided into three groups: clean hands, dirty hands and hand-sanitizer hands.

The clean hands group washed their hands with soap and scrubbed for a minimum of 20 seconds. The dirty hands group did nothing, and the hand-sanitizer group used hand sanitizer.

Groups were provided potato slices to touch and rub their hands on and then placed the potatoes in a labeled plastic bag. After a week, the potato slices handled by the students who did not wash their hands grew mold while the slices handled by students with clean hands showed little or no growth.

Students learned that the mold grew from the germs or bacteria on their hands. This experiment helped students understand the importance of hand washing to stay healthy.

Editor’s note: Susan Kruse is principal of Ranch Elementary School in the J.O. Combs Unified School District.

 

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