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Germs Alive!

Elective Adventure

In this Adventure, you’ll get to explore how to keep your body healthy. Why is it important to wash your hands? Why is the slimy mucus in your nose (yep, snot) important to your health? What happens if you sneeze into the air instead of into the bend in your elbow? How does keeping your room clean help keep you healthy? We will explore all of these questions while we journey through the sticky, sickening world of germs.

Requirements

Wash your hands with soap and water while singing the “Happy Birthday” song two times.
Happy Birthday Hand Washing
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Sing Happy Birthday while washing hands.

  • Hand soap
  • Hand towel
  • Running water
  • Wolf handbook

Before the meeting:

  1. Set up your handwashing station with hand soap, running water, and hand towel.

During the meeting:

  1. Ask Cub Scouts to get their hands​​ wet.
  2. Ask Cub Scouts to put soap on their hands.
  3. Tell Cub Scouts to work the soap into a lather on both sides of their hands.
  4. Encourage Cub Scouts to wash their wrists, between their fingers and around their fingernails.
  5. Ask Cub Scouts to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing their hands.
  6. Direct Cub Scouts to rinse and dry their hands.
Play Germ Magnet with our den or your family. Wash your hands afterward.
Glitter Germ Magnet
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Play Glitter Germ Magnet to see how germs are easily spread.

  • Two colors of approximately two tablespoons glitter
  • Water
  • Hand soap
  • Hand towel
  • Vacuum cleaner

Before the meeting:

  1. Set up hand washing station.
  2. Set up meeting space and have vacuum cleaner prepared to pick up glitter.

During the meeting:

  1. Gather Cub Scouts and tell them that germs are so small we can only see them with a microscope.  Some germs can get us sick.  Germs can travel through the air, but they can also travel through contact with each other.  Today we are going to see just how germs can travel with we don’t keep our hands clean.
  2. Ask Cub Scouts to wash their hands and form a circle with the group.
  3. Ask an adult or den chief to put a pinch of bright-colored glitter into one person’s hand in the circle. Have that person shake hands with the next person.
  4. Remind Cub Scouts to not touch their face or eyes with glitter on their hands.
  5. Instruct Cub Scouts to pass the handshake around the circle and see how far the “germs”(glitter) go.
  6. Ask an adult or den chief to add a second color of glitter to one Cub Scout’s hand to show how different “germs” can build up.
  7. Ask Cub Scouts to wash their hands after the game.
Glo Germ™ Exploration
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List4
Prep Time3

Using Glo Germ, Cub Scouts learn about the spread of germs.

  • Glo Germ
  • UV light
  • Water
  • Hand soap
  • Hand towel

Before the meeting:

  1. Set up handwashing station.
  2. Apply Glo Germ to an adult or den chief’s hands.
  3. Select a meeting location that is dimly lit to enhance the visibility of glowing germs.

During the meeting:

  1. As Cub Scouts arrive, have an adult or den chief with Glo Germ on their hands shake each Cub Scout’s hand.
  2. Ask Cub Scouts to sit down.
  3. Explain to your Cub Scouts
    • Germs are so small we can only see them with a microscope.  Some germs can get us sick.  Germs can travel through the air, but they can also travel through contact with each other.  Today we are going to see just how germs can travel with we don’t keep our hands clean.
    • When you arrived today, we all shook hands.  Before the meeting we put this safe stuff called Glo Germ to represent how germs can travel through contact.
  4. In a darkened room, turn on the UV light.
  5. Encourage Cub Scouts to examine their hands under the UV light.
  6. Explain that the glowing spots represent simulated germs that have been spread through touch.
  7. Ask Cub Scouts to thoroughly wash their hands.
  8. After handwashing, use the UV light to see how thoroughly Cub Scouts wash their hands.
Conduct the sneeze demonstration.
Sneeze-Splosion!
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List3
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn about how far a sneeze can travel.

  • Blanket, old sheet, or tarp with circles drawn on it in the form of a bull’s-eye. Each “ring” of the bull’s-eye should be 12 inches apart.
  • Balloon (check for latex allergies)
  • Paper confetti
  • Piece of paper to roll into a funnel
  • Tape
  • Tape measure
  • Wolf handbook

Before the meeting:

  1. ​​​Roll the paper to make a funnel.
  2. Insert the small end of the funnel into the balloon.
  3. Pour a couple of tablespoons of paper confetti into the balloon.
  4. Blow up the balloon to its full size and tie it. Safety: Pinch the balloon when you stop blowing so you don’t get any confetti in your mouth and tie off the balloon
  5. Place the blanket with the bull’s eye on the ground.

During the meeting:

  1. Ask an adult or den chief to place the balloon in the center ring of the bull’s eye.
  2. Gather Cub Scouts and tell them that this demonstration shows how far a germ can spread from our mouths when we are sick.
  3. The air in the balloon is like the air in our lungs and the confetti in the balloon is like our saliva or spit.  When we sneeze a lot of air in our lungs push out a lot of spit and sometimes mucus that can get others sick.
  4. Ask Cub Scouts to guess how far they think the “sneeze” will spread the “germs.” Have the other members of the den move several feet away from the balloon.
  5. On the count of three, Cub Scouts yell, “ACHOO!” while an adult pops the balloon.
Conduct the mucus demonstration.
Mucus-Tastic
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List4
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn about the importance of mucus and how it works.

  • Borax
  • Two plastic containers
  • Warm water
  • Quart-size zippered storage bag
  • White school glue
  • Pinch of dirt, flour, glitter, or cocoa
  • Food coloring
  • Paper plate
  • Hand soap
  • Hand towel
  • Running water

Before the meeting:

  1. In container one, dissolve two tablespoons of borax into 2 cups of warm water.
  2. In container two, dissolve two teaspoons white glue into three teaspoons of warm water.
  3. Add a few drops of yellow or green food coloring to the container of glue, and mix.
  4. Add one to two teaspoons of the borax mixture to the glue mixture. Begin stirring and watch as the mixture starts to form into “slime.”
  5. Set up handwashing station.

During the meeting:

  1. Ask Cub Scouts to handle the mixture and explain what it feels like. How do you think something so slimy could protect your body?
  2. Ask Cub Scouts to put their fake mucus on a paper plate.
  3. Ask an adult or den chief to place a pinch of dirt, glitter, flour, or cocoa onto each Cub Scout’s hand and gently blow it onto their mucus.
  4. Ask Cub Scouts if things stuck onto the surface? This is how the mucus in your nasal membrane inside your nose filters stuff.
  5. When you blow your nose mucus comes out along with the stuff your mucus has collected.
  6. Ask Cub Scouts to wash their hands.
Grow a mold culture. Show what formed at a den or pack meeting.
Germy Bread Investigation
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn about the importance of hand hygiene and the spread of germs by conducting a hands-on bread mold experiment.

  • Plastic sandwich bags, two for each Cub Scout
  • Slices of sandwich bread, two for each Cub Scout
  • Permanent markers, one for each Cub Scout
  • Water, hand soap and hand towel
  • Germy Bread Investigation observation sheet found in Additional Resources
  • Printer

Before the meeting:

  1. Print Germs Alive 5 Germy Bread Investigation observation sheet, one for each Cub Scout.
  2. Place two sandwich bags at each place where a Cub Scout will work.
  3. Set up handwashing station.

During the meeting:

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and inform them that germs are alive.  Like all living things germs need to eat.  Some germs are bacteria or fungi that eat the same food you and I do.  If we don’t properly wash our hands and we have germs on them the bacteria or fungi will get on it and start to eat it and will get so big you can see them without a microscope.
  2. Ask Cub Scouts to label their two bags. One is labeled Dirty Hands, and the other is labeled Clean Hands.
  3. Provide a piece of bread to each Cub Scout and ask them to gently touch the piece of bread on one side.
  4. Tell Cub Scouts to place this piece of bread into their bag labeled Dirty Hands.
  5. Ask Cub Scouts to wash their hands.
  6. Provide a piece of bread to each Cub Scout and ask them to gently touch the piece of bread on one side.
  7. Tell Cub Scouts to place this piece of bread into their bag labeled: Clean Hands.
  8. Wash hands.
  9. Ask Cub Scouts to take their two bags home and place them somewhere they can see them easily such as a table or windowsill. Make sure they are kept at room temperature.
  10. Ask Cub Scouts to check on their bread slices and record what they see on a piece of paper. Make sure to note the differences between the “Dirty Hands” and “Clean Hands” bread.

Tip: For extra fun, have an adult or den chief do the same experiment and add other options such as rubbing the bread on their cell phone or laptop. Share the results at the next den meeting.

Moldy Meals Mystery
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List3
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn which foods are more susceptible to growing mold.

  • Banana, one for five Cub Scouts
  • Small piece of bread, one for each Cub Scout
  • Small paper plates (one for each Cub Scout and they should be able to fit into a sandwich bag)
  • Small pieces of cheese, one piece for each Cub Scout
  • Sandwich bags, one for each Cub Scout
  • Rubber gloves
  • Permanent marker, one for each two Cub Scouts
  • Plastic cup with water, one for each two Cub Scouts
  • Moldy Meals Mystery observation sheet found in Additional Resources
  • Printer
  • Water, hand soap and hand towel

Before the meeting:

  1. Print Moldy Meals Mystery observation sheet, one for each Cub Scout.
  2. Cut small pieces of cheese for each Cub Scout.
  3. Cut slices of bread into small pieces.
  4. Cut peeled bananas into small pieces.
  5. Put a plate and sandwich bag at each place where a Cub Scout will sit.
  6. Set up handwashing station.
  7. Prepare meeting space for experiment.

During the meeting:

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and inform them that germs are alive.  Like all living things germs need to eat.  Some germs are bacteria or fungi that eat the same food you and I do.  If we don’t properly store food or let it sit out bacteria or fungi will get on it and start to eat it and will get so big you can see them without a microscope.
  2. Instruct Cub Scouts to write DO NOT EAT on their sandwich bag with the permanent marker.
  3. Ask Cub Scouts to place one piece of banana, one piece of bread and one piece of cheese onto their paper plate.
  4. Instruct Cub Scouts to lightly sprinkle each food with water.
  5. Ask Cub Scouts to carefully place their plate into their sandwich bag.
  6. Encourage Cub Scouts to leave a small opening to let some air in.
  7. Ask Cub Scouts to observe the three foods daily. Which food grew mold faster? Tell them to write down their findings for a week. If they can, have them take pictures to share with the den.
  8. Wash hands.

Safety: Tell Cub Scouts to wear rubber gloves to dispose of the food and paper plates after one week. Tell them to have an adult help them clean the area. Remind Cub Scouts to wash their hands with soap and water.

Print

Safety Moment

Prior to any activity, use the BSA SAFE Checklist to ensure the safety of all those involved.

All participants in official BSA Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scoutingand applicable program literature or manuals.

Be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede BSA practices, policies, and guidelines.

To assist in the safe delivery of the program you may find specific safety items that are related to requirements for the Adventure.

Before starting any experiments in this Adventure:

  • Review the instructions completely for the experiment.
  • Conduct the experiment before the meeting to test the experiment.
  • Confirm additional adult supervision as needed.

During the Adventure:

  • Review the instructions fully with the den before beginning.
  • Wear protective clothing and eye protection.
  • Keep food and drinks away from experiment.

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