Teach proper hand washing with potatoes
This activity is one of my favorites and the students really enjoy it too. It is a great way to demonstrate germs that students carry on their hands, even when they appear clean. I use the potato hand washing activity with my Foods and Nutrition I students but the message is simple enough for all ages to understand.
You can purchase chemicals and sprays that make germs on hands “glow,” but those are expensive and unnecessary. All you need for this activity is three potatoes, some poster paper, and three sandwich bags.
Begin by peeling the three potatoes (compost the peels!) and scrub them for 30 seconds with hand soap.
Put one potato in a bag as the control.
Pass the next potato around the class. Encourage the students to rub their hands all over the potato.
Demonstrate proper hand washing: Scrubbing nails, tops, bottoms, and betweens, wrists, etc. Also, scrub for a complete 30 seconds.
After the students have touched the “dirty” potato, send the students to the kitchens to practice hand washing.
After the students have washed their hands, pass around the last potato.
Organize the potatoes on the chart.
Observe the potatoes over the next week. Spoiler alert: The control will stay white, the “clean” will have brown marks on the outside, and the “dirty” will be brown all of the way through.