This Teacher’s Gross Experiment Is Showing Students Why They Need To Wash Their Hands

The "dirty hands" bread is disgusting.

Credit: Donna Gill Allen

If you’ve ever worked at an elementary school, or have kids, or even observed kids, you’ll know one thing: that they are unsanitary, messy, and generally don’t wash their hands unless they’re told to. This is why illnesses are so prevalent in places where kids reign, but the problem is that this habit of not washing your hands often continues later on in life.

That’s what Health Occupation teacher Donna Gill Allen at Cape Fear High School in North Carolina is trying to prevent with her students. Though these high school students aren’t the ones you’d expect with this type of basic experiment, this experiment and the lesson learned from it can be applied to people of all ages. It’s easy to do, too. Allen took to Facebook to explain the process.

“You use three pieces of bread. You let all the kids see you put a piece of bread in a baggy with a glove on hence “controlled” then you wash your hands and put a piece of bread in a baggy for “clean” last but definitely not least you pass a piece of bread around and let every kid in class touch it then you put it in a baggy and label it dirty,” she said.

Then you sit back and wait for the mold to start forming, which, as one can expect, happens rapidly on the bread that was touched by dirty hands. You can see the end result of the easy experiment in the photo below.

Credit: Donna Gill Allen

As Allen explained to Scary Mommy, there’s a reason that she’s teaching this lesson to high school students. The particular class she teaches at Cape Fear deals with health, and washing hands is especially valuable to their future occupation.

“My students are Certified Nursing Assistants when they graduate from my program. I teach them to take care of patients. Part of their education is to teach them to wash their hands. This experiment was perfect for teaching about germs,” she explained.

Elementary school teachers are now adopting this experiment and others like it if they aren’t keen on having moldy bread in their classroom. Another experiment that can be used is where students put glitter of varying colors on their hands and pretend it’s bacteria. They then walk around shaking hands and see how fast the glitter/bacteria spreads. Regardless of the method used, we could all benefit from a society that washes their hands more.

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