Hygiene—GED Instructor Notes


Lesson: Personal Hygiene – integrating the science and practice of maintaining health into the classroom curriculum.


Objectives: In this lesson, the participants will:

·        Utilize various critical thinking skills related to learning about hygiene across the curriculum.

·        Understand the importance of good hygiene in everyday life.

·        Connect the importance of good hygiene and good health


Subjects: Reading, writing, science, math, social studies and critical thinking



1.       Read “Fighting Germs in the Workplace”.  Workforce Extension: Discuss this in coordination with what makes a good employee. After completing the discussion on workplace, discuss a workplace out of this world – the International Space Station. There is some interesting information on how the individuals living there take care of their daily needs including the area of grooming. This could lead back to some enlightening about the importance of good hygiene.

2.     To demonstrate how germs travel, do the “Glittering Germs” activity.  The “Potato Experiment” is a great way to show the science involved in hygiene.

3.     After reading “How Germs Travel” aloud, discuss it with your students. Have them role play the different ways germs can travel. Art Extension: Create a germ. (This activity is also found in the Home Visits Notes.) Math Extension: Explore the mathematical concept of doubling. (There is a coordinating activity in the Home Visits Notes.)


***Use the following four lessons to focus on soap and water, the foundation of good hygiene. These exercises can be used separately or as a whole unit.


4.     Complete “How Soap Works” activity. (This activity is repeated in the Home Visit Notes.)

5.     Try the “How Many Drops of Water Can Fit on a Penny” experiment. This is a simple and inexpensive way to introduce students to making a hypothesis and to the concept of a control group and an experimental group. It also is a way to use soap and water without really discussing hygiene.

6.     Complete “Soap Clouds--The Incredible Expanding Soap Trick” and then read the handout “Ivory Soap—A Mistake  Discuss how sometimes even mistakes can turn into something positive. Look at advertising images and slogans in magazines or newspapers and discuss how advertising affects our ideas and our spending habits. Ask students to write an advertising slogan for themselves. If they are hesitant to write about themselves, ask them to write something positive about each other or perhaps write something special for each of them yourself. Talk about how self-image messages they are constantly sending themselves can and do reflect in how they act and feel. Discuss how they need to “sell themselves” to perspective employers in a job search.

7.     Complete another basic experiment “Pepper on Parade” to show the effects of soap.

8.     Complete “The Unsinkable Potato and Other Amazing Characteristics of Ice and Water” activity. This activity will promote critical thinking and give the students a hands-on visual for what water looks like.

9.     Hold a “Spa Day”. Often adult education students have not had anyone care for them or have not been encouraged to care for themselves. Pamper your students by using the included home recipes for facials, shampoo, deodorants, etc. Use this day as a reward for hard work or to make gifts for family members. A set of luxury gifts consisting of bath salts wrapped in a pretty wash cloth is included to make the day complete. Don’t forget the males in class who may not be interested in spa day. Give them an option of another activity or perhaps they want to make a gift for someone special. Several of the ideas included are not necessarily for women (aches & itches bath salts and oh, my aching feet) however, you may have some convincing to do.

10.  A poetry activity that the class will actually like! Complete the “Wellness Classroom Activity.”

11.   Play the game “Lose a Million Bacteria”. Students will retain more if they are having fun while they are learning and what better game than a popular game show.

12.  Do the “Handing Out Germs” activity. Spend some time discussing related issues in the extensions suggested.

13.  Germs are everywhere and are too tiny to be seen with the naked eye. They can only be seen under a microscope. “Germ-ometry” gives students a visual instruction to germs – both helpful and harmful.

14.  Complete “Microbe Math” for another visual way of looking at bacterial growth and for some very compelling math practices.

15.  Use the “Germ-bustin” Word Hunt to reinforce concepts taught. Have the students decipher the “Fight BAC Secret Code”.

16.  You and your students probably haven’t given a lot of thought to flies. The “Fly Activity” uses the power of observation and some critical thinking skills to predict why flies act the way they do. We know flies are dirty or are they? Why do they act the way they do? Have a good time with the fly activity and learn some amazing new information about one of our least favorite creatures.

17.  Yeast is an example of a fungus that can be helpful and harmful. Complete the “Yeast: A Helpful Fungus” and extension activities.

18.  Read the handout “Lousology”. (This same handout and additional activities can also be found in the Home Visits Notes.)  If you have access to a computer and the internet, more information as well as online games can be found at the following website: www.headlice.org/kids/headgames/index.htm 

19.  Read about the importance of hygiene in “China Steps Up to the 20th Century”.

20. Construct a “Healthy Collage”. Students can take their collages home to share what they have learned with their families.

21.  So you want to be a journalist? First analyze and criticize three newspaper or magazine articles and then try your hand at writing an article about a current health concern in “Germs and Journalism”.