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KS4: Hand and Respiratory Hygiene

In this lesson plan, students learn how easily microbes can spread from one person to another by touch and why it is important to wash our hands properly. Scroll down for more information and to download resources.

Hand soap and toilet paper
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Learning objectives
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
Background Information

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.

Good hand and respiratory 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.

Main activity:
  • Toilet paper experiment
Extension activities:
  • Stomach bug chain of infection
  • Spread of infection on a cruise scenario
  • Hand hygiene quiz
  • Respiratory hygiene quiz
Curriculum links


  • Working scientifically
  • Scientific thinking
  • Experimental skills and strategies
  • Analysis and evaluation


  • Cells
  • Health and disease
  • Development of medicines


  • Health and prevention


  • Reading
  • Writing

Art & Design:

  • Graphic communication

Supporting Materials
Teacher sheets
KS4 Hand hygiene teacher guidance
Student worksheets
SW1 Hand hygiene quiz
SW2 Respiratory hygiene quiz
Student handouts
SH1 The chain of infection poster
SH2 Breaking the chain of infection poster
SH3 Hand washing poster