Hand hygiene is possibly the single most effective way of reducing and preventing the spread of infection and is an important behavioural intervention to instil and reinforce from a young age. Colds and flus are the most common illnesses in the classroom and perhaps one of the most contagious. The most common mode of transmission for respiratory tract infections (RTIs) is through close contact with respiratory droplets in the air from coughs and sneezes or through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Good respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene are critical to preventing the transmission of harmful microbes that can lead to infection and illness.

In this lesson, students conduct an experiment to reinforce the importance of hand washing after visiting the toilet. They identify how they can break the chain of infection at an individual and community level, and consider how infections can spread more widely.

Learning Outcomes:

  • All students will:
  • Understand that infection can be spread through unclean hands
  • Understand that handwashing can prevent the spread of infection
  • Understand how pathogens can be transmitted
  • Understand that covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough, or sneeze helps prevent the spread of infection

Activities Include:

  • Main Activity:
  • Toilet Paper Experiment
  • Extension Activities:
  • Stomach Bug Chain of Infection
  • Hand Hygiene Quiz
  • Respiratory Hygiene Quiz

Curriculum Links:

  • Science:
    • Working scientifically
    • Scientific thinking
    • Experimental skills and strategies
    • Analysis and evaluation
  • Biology:
    • Cells
    • Health and disease
    • Development of medicines
    • Health and prevention
  • English:
    • Reading
    • Writing
  • Art & Design:
    • Graphic communication