Teaching kids about bacteria and germs they can't see can be difficult, unless you compare it to the task of getting them to wash their hands after they touch disgusting things, which is next to impossible.
One teacher managed to kill both birds with one absolutely filthy stone by getting her class to do the old "touch the bread" experiment, just in time for flu season.
Educator Jaralee Annice Metcalf shared an experiment she and her colleagues did with their pupils in a Facebook post that has spread like mold on a piece of bread that's been touched by children who've played with a Chromebook. This is a reference you'll soon get, before wishing you absolutely did not.
"We did a science project in class this last month as flu season was starting," Metcalf explained in the Facebook post.
"We took fresh bread and touched it. We did one slice untouched. One with unwashed hands. One with hand sanitizer. One with washed hands with warm water and soap. Then we decided to rub a piece on all our classroom Chromebooks [laptops]."
They then left the pieces of bread for over 3 weeks to see what happened. As you'd expect, the bread touched by nobody lasted the best (mmmm, delicious control bread), followed closely by the pieces that had been touched by kids who had washed their hands with soap.
Here's where it gets absolutely disgusting. First up, the hand sanitizer bread isn't as delicious-looking as you'd hope.
And the dirty hands bread was as gross as you'd imagine.
But the real horror show was the piece of bread that had been touched by the children after they'd touched a Chromebook laptop. Ye Gods.
"As somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired," Metcalf begged in her post, "Wash your hands! Remind your kids to wash their hands! And hand sanitizer is not an alternative to washing hands!! At all!"
And yes, there is a right and wrong way to wash your hands, and you've probably been doing it wrong your whole life.
The experiment has been praised online, with people calling it a great idea and a cute way to teach kids about germs and experiment controls. Other commenters have also suggested that this needs to be shown to adults, who clearly aren't taking hygiene seriously enough, and have tagged filthy people who they believe really should wash their hands more. Feel free to do the same.
[H/T: Science Alert]