Teacher's Clever, But Totally Gross, Experiment Teaches Kids The Importance Of Washing Their Hands

"Watch how the bread changes over time due to germs."

Most kids don't have excellent hygiene and are probably sick of being told to wash their hands. But this teacher has come up with a clever way to show them why it's so important they do. 

Three years ago, Courtney Lee Simpson has the "grossest yet coolest experiment" to help teach kids about germs and the importance of washing up. She shared the simple experiment on Facebook.


"I did this while teaching about germs and how they spread," she wrote. "You use three pieces of bread. You let all the kids see you put a piece of bread in a baggy with a glove on hence 'controlled' then you wash your hands and put a piece of bread in a baggy for 'clean' last but definitely not least you pass a piece of bread around and let every kid in class touch it then you put it in a baggy and label it dirty. Watch how the bread changes over time due to germs. It is so cool and a great way to teach the importance of hand-washing." 

The results are striking. In the photo Simpson shared, the control slice and the slice of bread that was touched with clean hands look completely edible. However, the bread that was touched with "dirty hands" is almost entirely covered in mold. Simpson didn't specify how much time had passed since handling the bread and putting them in bags, but does it really matter? You can't look at this photo without wanting to wash your hands. 

The post has since been shared over 300,000 times and has over 180,000 likes. Many teachers have thanked Simpson for sharing the experiment with them and commented that they plan to use it as well. 

This experiment is a popular one used to educate kids about the importance of handwashing outside of the classroom as well. "Children believe that if their hands look clean, they are clean," Education.com says. "Use this very visual activity to help children understand the power of germs and the importance of hand washing. It's also a great way to introduce your kid to the art of scientific inquiry." 

We'd imagine there are also plenty of adults who could use this as a reminder of the importance of cleaning their hands.

One important tip for those who do plan to recreate this experiment is to refrain from using preservative-free bread. It won't grow mold like bread without preservatives will. 

So, what's actually the best way to wash your hands, according to science? Find out here

Correction: This article previously attributed the Facebook post to Donna Gill Allen. It's been corrected to reflect it was originally posted by Courtney Lee Simpson. 


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