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Elementary School Food Safety Lessons

Lesson 3 Keeping
Our Food Safe

National Health Education Standards
(grades 1-4) 1:1; 1:8; 3:1; 3:2
Introduction
Introduce this lesson: (modify introduction if you did not teach lesson 2)
“In our last lesson we discovered why the Panthers got sick at their picnic. Can anyone tell me the rule we learned when we discovered the reasons for their sickness? (Keep it clean. Keep it cold or keep it hot. Or don't you dare eat what's not.) Today we will be reminded that bacteria that made the Panthers sick are living one-cell organisms that are so tiny they can only be seen with a microscope. In order to grow, the bacteria need what you and I need: food, moisture (water), and warmth. You'll remember in our last lesson we looked at a picture that showed that bacteria grow best in the temperature danger zone of 40°(F) to 140°(F). Really cold temperatures, like freezing, stops bacteria from growing but may not kill the bacteria. Most often, bacteria are killed when they are heated to very hot degrees, such as when your family cooks hamburgers until the meat is no longer pink inside. Any questions?”
activity 1
  1. Ask the students:
    “Where are bacteria?” Record student answers on a flip chart or on the board. (All around us; in food [a sick person contaminates food that is eaten by another person]; from one person to another; on the food itself as it moves from the farm through the grocery store and to our homes).
  2. Ask the students:
    “How do you think bacteria get around?”
  3. Explain to the students:
    “We are going to have one half of the class place flour on their hands. These students will shake hands with those who do not have flour on their hands.”
  4. Ask the students:
    “What do you see about how far the flour has spread?” (Discuss how the flour is analogous to the bacteria the students cannot see. If you are adventurous, you can ask students to touch other objects in the classroom to demonstrate bacteria spreading.)
activity 2
Introduce students to FOOD SAFETY HOUSE by saying:
“Sanitation is the first floor in our FOOD SAFETY HOUSE. On the "Sanitation" floor we keep clean by washing:
  • Our hands.
  • The surfaces where food is prepared.
  • The places where food is eaten
  • The utensils that help us prepare foods.”
activity 3
  1. State:
    “One of the important "rooms" on the "Sanitation" floor is for hand washing. In this lesson we are going to learn why it is important to wash our hands, when to wash them, and how to wash our hands.”
  2. Inquire of students:
    “Why do we wash our hands?”
    (Elicit the following reasons:
  • To clean our hands. Anytime you touch anything, as we found out from our flour experiment, you get bacteria on your hands.
  • To keep bad bacteria from "traveling" one person to the next.
  • To keep our food free from bacteria that will make us sick. [We must wash our hands before we touch, prepare, serve, eat, or store any kind of food.])
  1. Ask the students:
    “When do we wash our hands?”
    (Elicit as many ideas as possible. Place student suggestions on the board. Be sure to include the following:
  • After using the bathroom.
  • Before eating or drinking.
  • Before preparing food.
  • After touching a pet.
  • After coughing or sneezing (remember the Panther picnic) into our hands or blowing our nose.
  • After touching a cut.
  • After playing outside.
  • After touching raw or uncooked meat, fish, or poultry.
activity 4
  1. State:
    “We are now going to demonstrate the hand washing steps you see on the board.” (Ask two adults or upper-class persons to demonstrate the steps.)
  2. Ask the students:
    “Do you have any questions about the correct way to wash your hands?” (Answer the questions posed by students. Suggest that the students demonstrate correct hand washing for their family members.)
closure
  1. Share with the students:
    “We have been reminded in this lesson that bacteria are everywhere. In order to be sure that bacteria that is harmful or 'bad' bacteria does not get into food we touch, we help prepare, we store, we serve, or we eat, we must be very careful to do a good hand washing job. We learned the hand washing steps today and we can show our family members just how to wash their hands!”
  2. State:
    “I'm giving you a list of rules for hand washing that you can take home to share with your family. Maybe your family will let you post the rules near where family members wash their hands.”
integration ideas
  • Third and fourth grade students can prepare a hand washing demonstration for student in kindergarten through second grade. All student can participate by presenting the reasons for hand washing, the techniques, and singing a song to demonstrate the period of time that should be spent!
  • Students in all grades can write a story using the following vocabulary words: bacteria, bad, eating, farm, food, grocery store, hands, raw meat, serve, store, touch, wash.
  • Third and fourth grade students can prepare a skit, with help from adult volunteers who will assist with scripting, costumes and choreography, to tell the story of how to keep "bad" bacteria out of food. The skit should be presented to students in K-2nd grades.
  • Illustrated hand washing posters can be developed in art classes for students to take home. Please provide the art teacher with rules for hand washing.
  • Ask the librarian to order The War on Germs. This nine-minute video provides an excellent model for producing a play, skit, radio, or TV presentation. Suggest that fourth graders use the video as a model to produce a program for students in lower grades, or for an assembly.
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