Imagine how this pandemic looks to your children for a minute. “I can’t see my friends, baseball is cancelled, and school is all online? What in the world is going on??”
We think our worlds have been turned upside down (and they have!) but so have our littles ones’ and it’s up to us to console them.
I know my stepdaughter best deals with problems when she has all of the facts. She doesn’t deal well with the abstract.
So, I set out on a mission to explain the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic to her in a way that was age-appropriate.
For science in this week’s homeschooling plan, we decided to focus on germs and viruses.
We started with experts and let them provide a base knowledge to build off of. Then, we added experiments and activities to further build that knowledge.
This intentional lesson plan really helped my stepdaughter, Krista, understand the virus that’s keeping us all at home and away from our friends and family.
If you’re looking for kid-friendly ways to explain the science of germs of viruses, keep reading!
Germs & Virus Science Lesson Plan
Day 1: COVID-19 Video, Articles, and “Facts I Learned” Worksheet
I was SO EXCITED to discover that BrianPOP had created an entire kid-friendly video explaining Coronavirus!
Couple that video with articles from TIME for Kids, and your children will have a very solid base knowledge to work off the rest of the week.
We downloaded this Just the Facts graphic organizer from Teacher Files so Krista could record everything she learned. She loved getting to share her fun facts with us after she completed her lesson!
Day 2: How do germs spread? Experiment
I love, love, love this activity! This “How do germs spread?” experiment shows how a simple high-five, handshake, or touching our faces can spread germs.
It’s a really tremendous visual for kiddos who don’t understand how germs spread, especially from person to person.
Day 3: Understanding Exponential Growth
It’s a great start to understand how germs spread. However, it may still be difficult to comprehend exponential growth and how quickly the virus spreads from person to person.
I searched and searched for a good experiment or activity to illustrate this for little ones. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a visual example I loved. Instead, I drew from my memory an example of a conversation with my stepmom growing up. To help others, I put together this guide for explaining exponential growth, especially as it relates to viruses and germs.
Day 4: Why do we use soap? Experiment
When you really want your kiddos to learn the importance of washing their hands, have them try this glitter soap experiment!
They’ll be shocked at how the “germs” rush away from the soap!
Day 5: Lung Anatomy in a Bottle Activity
After introducing her to the topic of Coronavirus, Krista began to ask several questions.
“Where on the lungs does the virus attack? How long does it stay there? How do lungs work?” and we knew it was important to dig even deeper into our respiratory system to explain.
I was THRILLED to discover this Lung Anatomy in a Bottle Activity to provide a hands-on answer to her questions!
There you have it! Five different lessons for auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learners to learn all about COVID-19, germs, and how viruses spread.
When we can teach our littles ones about the virus (in an age-appropriate manner!), it becomes less terrifying.
Keeping the virus as an abstract, external “thing” without explaining it is going to keep them feeling confused and scared. Explaining how it works and what we can do to protect ourselves against it, empowers our children to fight back.
Do you have another science experiment or activity that helps explain germs and viruses you’d add to this list? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
P.S. We included a TON of science experiments in our Beyond the Classroom series!