Associate Professor of Practice, Family and Community Health; OSU Extension Service Extension Disaster Education Network Delegate
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Content by Glenda Hyde
Students enjoy performing the Sneaky Germ Skit to review proper hand washing for the class. Then, the class enjoys a rousing game of Win, Lose or Wash! affirming key times that you should wash your hands.
Once students have learned the High Speed Hand Washing technique in primary grades and reinforced with literature-based learning, refresher lessons are provided the following years with a different approach. Using fun, interactive, engaging skits or games help 4th graders and up to remember why it is important to wash their hands properly every time. There are plenty of roles in this skit to show the many ways that our actions can be risky for food safety, as the farmer goes about preparing lunch. Lots of laughs and funny situations spark lively discussion afterwards as students point out food safety bloopers during the skit.
Modeling and practicing good hand washing before serving food samples in nutrition education lessons is time consuming and therefore usually neglected. The High Speed Hand Washing technique was developed to meet a need that could result in improved food safety in the classroom and at home. Classrooms can get their hands washed properly in five minutes or less, increasing students’ food safety awareness and actions. It can also reduce risk of spreading communicable diseases, while conserving water and energy. Presentation at Consumer Food Safety Educators Conference sponsored by the Partnership for Food Safety Education, March 2019.
Students who have learned High Speed Hand Washing in previous years revisit food safety with funny skit or game activities. Students review High Speed Hand Washing and practice it in their new classroom groups to get their class time under 5 minutes. Our research with 3rd though 8th graders over seven years shows that food safety practices may slip from year to year, but an engaging food safety activity revives and slightly increases their commitment to proper hand washing. Skits and games that can be adapted for most age groups are listed as Food Safety Activity Supplements.