Airborne transmission: passing pathogens from one person to another through the air.
Bacteria: one-celled, microscopic organisms that grow and multiply everywhere on Earth. They can be either useful or harmful to animals... more
Direct transmission: passing pathogens by the direct contact (touching) of two people.
Fungus: an organism that is part of the kingdom called fungi which includes yeasts, molds, and mushrooms. Fungi mainly feed on decaying organic matter... more
Indirect transmission: passing pathogens from one person to another by way of an intermediate object, like a doorknob.
Organism: a living thing that can be small like bacteria or large like an elephant.
Pathogen: a virus, bacterium, fungus or parasite that infects and harms a living host.
Protozoa: a group of single-celled organisms that live in water... more
Virus: a super tiny germ that you can only see with a microscope. Viruses need a host in order to reproduce... more
Have you ever wondered why you get sick? The answer is germs. Germs are tiny organisms that make you feel sick and cause disease. We come in contact with millions of germs every day. There are different kinds of germs: bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa.
Germs are parasitic, which means they gobble up nutrients and energy from other organisms (like us). This process causes someone who has trouble fighting off the germs to show symptoms of common infections like fevers, sniffles, rashes, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea, just to name a few.
Now that we know germs cause sickness, how do you think germs are spread? Germs can be spread many ways, including three types of transmission (or passing of germs): direct, indirect, and airborne. Direct transmission means person-to-person contact occurs, and the germs are passed that way. Indirect means that someone spread germs onto an object and when the next person touched that object, the germs spread. Germs can also travel through the air to move from one person to another.
With all these different ways for germs to be passed around, you might wonder if there's a way to avoid germs from getting to you. While we can’t really avoid germs altogether, we can take care of ourselves by washing our hands and covering our mouths when sneezing, among other things. This helps reduce the spread of germs.
During this activity you will illustrate the steps germs take during transmission. You will learn about the different types of bacteria, how they are spread, and discuss ways to keep from getting sick.
Welcome to the beginning of a four-day festival of germs! Each day you will learn or do something new and germy.
Read the Puzzling Pathogens story and discuss it with the rest of your class.
Listen to a short presentation and do three activities that will teach you how those jolly germs jump from one person to another (this is called transmission).
Work on making a tree map. This will be a chart with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoans listed at the top. Your teacher will prompt you with three or four questions related to these organisms. Then, you will watch a PowerPoint presentation and fill out your charts so they contain the answers to the questions in the appropriate columns.
Discuss ways to prevent the spread of germs with the rest of your class. You will split into groups and come up with skits that show how you can protect yourself and your classroom from germs. At the end of the day, you will take a quiz to show how much you've learned.
Satina Sund, Vanessa Vierkoetter, Esmeralda Manzano, Julie Dunlap. (2014, August 01). Let the Germs Begin. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved June 8, 2023 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/experiments/let-germs-begin
Satina Sund, Vanessa Vierkoetter, Esmeralda Manzano, Julie Dunlap. "Let the Germs Begin". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 01 August, 2014. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/experiments/let-germs-begin
Satina Sund, Vanessa Vierkoetter, Esmeralda Manzano, Julie Dunlap. "Let the Germs Begin". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 01 Aug 2014. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 8 Jun 2023. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/experiments/let-germs-begin
Download the Germs Experiment (PDF).
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