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Curriculum Level: 6-8

By Kristen Cox from East Cary Magnet Middle School

OVERVIEW OF LESSON: This lesson highlights how diseases spread. It gives students insight into places that do not have access to clean water and sanitation and how that impacts the people’s overall well being. This lesson connects Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Good Health and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Clean Water & Sanitation.


SUBJECT: Science


NC Science Standards: 8.L.1 Understand the structure and hazards caused by agents of disease that affect living organisms.


  • How does sanitation and hygiene impact disease spreading?


  1. Students will be able to understand the importance of sanitation and good hygiene.


In this lesson, students will explore how diseases spread. There are a variety of activities varying from evaluating hand-washing techniques to literacy activities. You will need to order the GloGerm lotion prior to completing this lesson. There is a link to a Nearpod Poll, where you will be able to login to your account if you have one and complete the activity with your students. If you do not wish to do the Nearpod activity, there is an alternative to discuss the statistics aloud with the class.


Day 1

Warm-Up: Instruct students to respond to “An alien appears in the classroom and would like to learn more about hand washing. Teach them by writing step-by-step instructions for how you wash your hands.” Allow multiple students to share.

Students will use GloGerm lotion to simulate germs and explore hand-washing techniques. Here is the procedure:

  1. All students receive GloGerm lotion. Say, “This lotion is GloGerm and will be used to simulate germs. Apply this onto your palm. Spread the GloGerm lotion on both hands completely, particularly under nails, around cuticles, between fingers, and at the wrist.”
  2. Give students 5 minutes to fill out their predictions on the GloGerm hyperdoc of which are the most effective methods of hand washing.
  3. Divide students in groups of 5 and each person gets a role:
    1. Do not wash hands at all
    2. Wash with just water
    3. Wash with water and soap
    4. Wash with hand sanitizer only 
    5. Wash with hand sanitizer wipe
  4. Turn off the lights and use black light flashlights to have students look at their hands to evaluate their hand washing. Anything glowing is a simulated “germ”. Make sure to have students record observations & look at their cuticles, wrists, etc.
  5. Allow all students to wash their hands.
    • Have students complete the GloGerm hyperdoc reflection question that includes having students as a group put each of the variables on a scale from least effective to most effective
    • Each group will elect a person to share out their group’s scales and factors that affected results
    • Exit Ticket: On an index card, have students describe the importance of good sanitation.

Day 2

    • Warm Up: Class Poll Activity on Nearpod– Participate in A Poll Using Statistics
      • If you do not use Nearpod, you can go through the information on this Nearpod Poll PDF with your class through a discussion or use another tool to poll your class.
    • Teacher will explain to students that we are going to “Talk to the Text”
    • Students will have metacognitive conversations sharing their comments on their text for 5 minutes with their group. 
    • Exit Ticket: As a group, students will complete a triangle, square, and circle of:
      • Triangle: What are three important points that you have learned?
      • Square: What is something that squared or agreed with your thinking?
      • Circle: What is something still circling in your head?

Day 3

    • Warm- Up: “How does clean water that we talked about before relate to this topic about good hygiene?” Have students share their answers after 2 minutes.
    • We are going to watch the video, What do [We] Mean When We Talk About Hygiene? from the We Are Water Foundation. This short video describes what it looks like to have access to hygiene. While we watch the video, keep in mind things you notice and wonder to use in our next activity.
    • Distribute SDG 6.2 Infographic handout and have students read the infographic for 5 minutes.
    • Review the infographic, then have students draw an “I notice, I wonder” chart. They will spend 10 minutes completing the chart using information from both the video and the infographic.
    • Think- Pair-Share: Have students share their chart with what they wonder and notice.
    • Divide students into groups of 4 to complete a Jigsaw.
    • Students will go to their original group and “Teach” their group about their article using the slide they created within their expert group. 
    • On an index card, students will complete an exit ticket. Using their knowledge from the jigsaw, students will answer: how does access to clean water and sanitation affect human health?

Day 4

    • Warm-Up: How does water impact our lives?
    • Say: We are going to watch this video, Why Water? from charity: water, a nonprofit organization, to learn why water is critical to life and learn of opportunities to help out with the global water crisis. Watch the video.
    • Say: The water crisis is a global issue that impacts human health and well being. There are several organizations already tackling this issue. Explore these organizations to learn more about their work and see how you can help. Provide students with an electronic version of World Water Crisis Organizations handout.
    • Say: As global scholars, it is important to recognize and explore issues, but we also must act. While this issue exists globally, there are things we can do locally to help. Think about our own community. What are some things we can do to have better sanitation? How can we save or conserve water? How can we contribute to the water crisis issue to ensure all people have access to clean water and sanitation?
      • You will now think globally and act locally by creating something for our school community. The choice board gives you flexibility to create an infographic, poster, or bumper sticker that will be displayed in our school. It must be school appropriate.
      • For your product, you have two options:
        • Think of statistics, facts about sanitation, hand washing, etc. that we can use at our school to prevent the spread of illnesses. Use this for your product.
        • Pick an organization that we explored earlier in class and include information to allow people to learn about it and contribute if they would like to help our world have cleaner water and access to all.
      • Provide Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Take Action Choice Board to students

ASSESSMENTS: Exit tickets each day; evaluate how students “teach in jigsaw” and final product on Day 4

LEARNING EXTENSION: Tour a Water & Wastewater Plant


Day 4


Charity Water (2023, February 9). Why Water. Help Bring Clean and Safe Water to Every Person on the Planet.

GloGerm Company (2023, February 9). Hand washing Glo Germ Gel. GloGerm.

United Nations Organization (2023, February 9). Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation. Sustainable Development Goals.