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Nueva Students Learn about Importance of Hand Hygiene
Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager

Before Nueva moved to remote learning, students in Lower and Middle Schools were learning about the importance of hand hygiene in their science classes. In third grade, students recently completed a unit, “Hand Hygiene: Educating Our Community,” where they conducted experiments and then presented their research to their Lower School peers. In seventh-grade chemistry, students learned about how viruses transfer and then took to the lab to make their own hand sanitizer.

At the end of January, third graders embarked on a microbiology exploration. “After learning about how bacteria can be cultured on agar plates, students conducted an initial round of data collection to examine the kinds of bacterial colonies that grow from their unwashed hands,” the third-grade science teachers wrote in their blog. In order to conduct their research third graders discussed what testable questions they could pose, as well as what variables they could test in this controlled experiment. The three questions the class sought to answer were: “How many bacterial colonies did each section of my agar plate grow?” “How much of my agar plate is covered by each colony?” and “What are the colors, textures, and shapes of my colonies?”

Once they found their results, “students turned their data sets into graphical representations,” the third grade wrote. “They focused on how to most optimally communicate their results visually, thinking critically about appropriate formatting, scaling, labeling, and color-coding.” 

The culmination of this science unit was a presentation the third graders shared with the Lower School, in which they provided hand-washing tips they learned from their experiment.


Recommendations from the Third Grade

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice or singing the alphabet once
  • Be sure to wash between the fingers, under the nails, and the front and back sides of the hands
  • Get some friction going while washing by vigorously scrubbing your hands
  • Use a paper towel to dry your hands to ensure all water droplets are wiped off
  • Turn off the water faucet with a paper towel to avoid picking up new germs on your hands

While third graders were busy learning about the impact of hand washing, the seventh graders spent time in their chemistry class discussing how viruses are transferred. They then dived into an experiment making their own hand sanitizer. 

While making hand sanitizer in class last week, Lilli G. said, “We just learned about the way that viruses transfer and now we are making hand sanitizer because it’s one of the best ways to combat the transfer of viruses when you can’t wash your hands.”

With a shortage of aloe vera gel potentially affecting the students’ ability to make hand sanitizer, science teacher Dawn Makley took matters into her own hands and used raw aloe to make aloe gel for students’ use. Once the hand sanitizer concoctions were complete, students were able to take them home. 

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