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KS2: Respiratory Hygiene

In this lesson plan, students learn how easily harmful microbes can be spread through coughs and sneezes and recreate a giant sneeze, embedding good respiratory hygiene behaviours.

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Learning objectives
All students will:
  • Understand that infection can spread through coughs and sneezes
  • Understand that covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough, or sneeze helps prevent the spread of infection
  • Understand that coughing and sneezing in your hand can still spread infection
Most students will:


Background Information

Respiratory tract infections (RTI) are infections that happen in the lungs, chest, sinuses, nose and throat, for example, coughs and colds, the flu and pneumonia. RTIs can spread easily from person-to person through the air, through person-to person contact (touching hands, hugging, kissing) or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Coughing and sneezing is a way in which our body tries to get rid of any harmful microbes and particles we might inhale from getting deeper into our respiratory tract. It is important that good respiratory hygiene is taught from a young age, and that key messages are built on over time. This is especially important in the approach to the winter cold/flu season each year, or when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease.

This lesson plan supports students to understand why respiratory hygiene matters and what good practice looks like. They do this through creating a giant sneeze, and identifying how different barriers can prevent harmful microbes from spreading.

Main activity:
  • Super Sneezes
Main Activity video
Extension activities:
  • Super Slimy Snot
  • Poster
  • Respiratory Hygiene Quiz
  • Fill in the Blanks
Curriculum links


  • Health and prevention


  • Working scientifically
  • Living things and their habitats
  • Animals, including humans


  • Reading and comprehension
  • Spoken language


  • Comparing measurements
Supporting Materials
Teacher sheets
KS2 Respiratory Hygiene Teacher Guidance
Student worksheets
SW1 Super Sneezes Recording Sheet
SW2 Respiratory Hygiene Quiz
SW3 Respiratory Hygiene Fill in the Blanks Worksheet
Student handouts
SH1 Super Slimy Snot Activity