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KS1: Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is one of the single most effective things children can do support preventing the spread of infection. By taking part in a classroom experiment, students will understand how soap or sanitisers work and that hand washing is the best way to remove microbes.

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Learning objectives
All students will:
  • Understand washing hands can help remove microbes
  • Understand washing hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of microbes
  • Understand washing hands with soap and water is better than washing hands with water alone
Most students will:


Background Information

Schools are a haven for potentially harmful microbes that can spread rapidly. Our skin naturally secretes oil which helps to keep our skin moist, but this is a perfect place for microbes to grow and multiply and helps microbes ‘stick’ to our skin. Our hands can easily pick up harmful microbes from our surroundings, surfaces and even through the air. These harmful microbes can spread quickly and easily from child-to-child via touch and can make us poorly if swallowed.

Practicing good hand hygiene through regularly washing hands with soap is one of the best ways to stop harmful microbes from spreading and prevent us from becoming sick.

This lesson plan supports you to educate students on how microbes can spread from hand to hand and show the most effective way to wash hands.

Main activity:
  • Pepper and Water Experiment
Main Activity video
Extension activities:
  • Healthy Hands Facts
  • Hand Washing Flashcards
  • Fill in the Blanks
Curriculum links


  • Health and prevention


  • Working scientifically
  • Living things and their habitats


  • Reading and comprehension
  • Writing
Supporting Materials
Teacher sheets
Hand Hygiene Teacher Guidance
Student worksheets
SW1 Picture Sequencing
SW2 Healthy Hands Washing Progress Chart
Student handouts
SH1 Healthy Hands Factsheet