Thursday, May 23, 2013

Importance of Handwashing-First Glog

K-1 Germ Unit: Handwashing Glog from

One of my goals in our Germ unit, was to be sure that my son learns proper hand washing technique. We've always enjoyed singing our ABC's while we wash our hands (to ensure the full 20 seconds), but we've not been too concerned with how well the soap is moved around. So now we know how important it is to clean ALL areas of the hands. We've learned that the spots missed most are the fingernails, outside palms, and wrists. This video highlights this point well.

Source: via Darci on Pinterest

We've read books on how to wash our hands, and although the content within this video was specific and helpful, the song just annoyed us all!

Source: via Darci on Pinterest

Source: via Darci on Pinterest

And this next video, titled "Pump The Pump" I thought would be a sure hit with my 6 year old, but I he just rolled his eyes at me! Oh, well. I tried, right?

Source: via Darci on Pinterest

Our First Glog (Digital Story)

Another goal I had this unit, was to see if I could get Caleb to make (or at least contribute to) his own digital story. I've been searching for kid-friendly programs, and decided to give Glogster a try. With a Ph.D in Educational Technology, I've been excited about getting Caleb to show what he's learned by creating digital products. As I played around with Glogster  I found it is super intuitive! I also plant to give Caleb a glog to begin learning how to insert and edit graphics. He usually begs for technology time, even if he has to "do school."

So the first step we took to make our first glog, was to take photos. I had to bribe my son with "rec" time and then photo shoot took less than 3 minutes. I uploaded the photos to Glogster, and added the text. But for the audio, this is where I wanted Caleb to be front and center. 

To increase his comfort level with using a microphone headset, we just played for 20 minutes in Garage Band (pre-loaded software on my MacBook Pro). We changed settings to make his voice sound like a mouse, a 40-year old man, a rock star, and his favorite "helium voice." 

I wrote a script (found below), and I read one line at a time, and had him repeat it. He mumbles, laughs, pouts, but we get through it! You can also tell he had issues with maintaining the same voice level throughout the recording, and keeping his hands off the mic! And I'm betting you'll recognize  the level of enthusiasm changing as the recording moves on.  But you know what? Pretty good for his first attempt! You can view the glog by going to my Glogster Page, or in the embedded image below.


Original Script for "How to Wash Your Hands" (Liberties were taken during the recording session!) 

Hi, my name is Caleb and I am 6 years old.  I’m proud to share with you, my very first video. We are learning about germs.  So I am going to share the right way to wash your hands.  Here we go… Step 1. After getting water on your hands, add one pump of Soap. Step 2: Rub your hands palm to palm Step 3: Next get between your fingers by making Wall-e  hands. Step 4: Wash tops of your hands, but don’t forget to get both sides. Step 5: Now rub the base of each thumb Step 6: Hook your hands together like a chain to get the back of the fingers. Rub them back and forth. Step 7: To get your fingernails rub your fingers into your palm.  Step 8: But don’t forget each wrist.  Step 9: Rinse your hands in warm water and dry your hands.

Don't forget to check out what Andrea over at No Doubt Learning and Erin at The Usual Mayhem is doing in their Germ Units this week!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Germ-Themed Addition/Subtraction

K-1 Germs Unit from No Doubt Learning, STEM Mom, and The Usual Mayhem

Germ-Themed Addition and Subtraction: Free Download from

In an attempt to connect math to our germ unit, I designed this simple dice game to practice addition and subtraction. (This activity is available as a free download at the bottom of this post.) One dice holds 1-6, and the other is the + or - signs. Caleb rolled the number dice twice, recorded his number on the student handout, then rolled to find out if he was to subtract or add the two numbers. You can see, we still work with manipulative (poker chips) to determine the answer. In the corner of the photo you can also see my Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) board. I use that to remind Caleb of how to correctly write his numbers. While he can usually get it to look right, if I'm not paying attention he's not using proper technique (I'm going to a HWT workshop in June, I can't wait to get tips!)

Kid playing Germ-themed math game from

You can download this Germ-Themed Dice and student handout in a Google Doc for free. It has three pages of dice, which we printed off on cardstock, and the fourth page is the student handout. To make sure we didn't go into the negative numbers, I just had Caleb always put the larger number in the first column.

Remember, I am working with two other homeschooling moms, Andrea from No Doubt Learning and Erin from The Usual Mayhem on this K-1 Germ Unit!  So be sure to stop by and see what germ-y activities they are doing. You may also want to take a peek at our Germ-Themed Pinterest Board that we are using to coordinate our planning. At the end of the unit (3 weeks), we will also provide a Google Doc that has all the free resources you can use for planning your own Germ lessons. 

Darci the STEM Mom

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Introducing Germs - but not the way you think!

K-1 Germ Unit from No Doubt Learning, STEM Mom and The Usual Mayhem

I'm introducing germs to my (newly) 6 year-old, Caleb this week. I'm still making him wash his hands after going to the bathroom, take baths, and cover his mouth when he sneezes and coughs. But we started a unit on Germs this week.

If you are considering doing a germ unit, you could give your child a cold by handing them a giant cold microbe, which is a small "stuffed animal" but is in the shape of a specific germ. He-he.

Reading "A Germ's Journey" to Vadar Tator!

To begin our our journey on Germs, we read the Book, A Germ's Journey. After reading books geared to young kids about germs, I've learned to be careful to look for scientific accuracy. In an attempt to simplify, some authors leave students with some incorrect assumptions. The misconception that concerns me most is that "All germs" are bad. Germs (which could be viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mold), is the term we use with a negative connotation, but not all of these microbes are bad, or do harm. Yogart and yeast are both used in cooking.  We love "germs" needed for decomposition, and those that live as normal flora in our intestinal track and help us digest things we can't otherwise take care of. You could say that although I practice aseptic technique when appropriate, I am a Pro-prokaryote. (Prokaryote is another name for bacteria!)          

However,  A Germ's Journey, is written by a medical doctor, is wonderfully written with an engaging plot. Rudy is getting a cold, and we follow the germs that are multiplying in his nose. My son loves the speech bubbles of the germs throughout the book. Every page gets a laugh! But Mom likes the solid science concepts taught (with possible misconceptions addressed in the lower right-hand corner of each page).

Important concepts addressed in A Germ's Journey:
  • Germs hang out on surfaces and you pick them up as you touch those surfaces
  • Skin is your first defense against germs
  • Noses, eyes, and mouths are the best way for germs to "get in"
  • Germs multiply until they deplete their resources, then need a new place to live!
  • You can still infect others, even if you're feeling well
We've read this books several times (as is our practice) and so we are introducing our unit with solid science truth!

We've also watched several videos that introduce what happens when you sneeze! Good for a laugh, but also shows kids how far saliva (your spit) along with the germs found there can travel. See what you think of these!

A Sneeze in real time, and in high definition slow motion! 

Source: via Darci on Pinterest

MythBusters: How Far does a Sneeze Go? And Testing Which Method (hand over mouth, into elbow, or hankie) Best Contains a Sneeze?

Source: via Darci on Pinterest
Source: via Darci on Pinterest

You gotta love Myth Busters when it comes to this sort of thing. It really shows that sneezing into your arm is the BEST way to contain those germs!

I am please to again be working with Andrea from No Doubt Learning and Erin from The Usual Mayhem on this K-1 Germ Unit!  So be sure to stop by and see what they're doing this week! You may also want to take a peek at our Germ-Themed Pinterest Board that we are using to coordinate our planning. At the end of the unit (3 weeks), we will also provide a Google Doc that has all the free resources you can use for planning your own Germ lessons.