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CLOSED – Teach school children the importance of handwashing (competition)

A book created to actually show young school children the bacteria which lurks on their hands is helping to visually reinforce the important hygiene message of handwashing.

The book, A Germ’s Journey, is the brainchild of microbiologist Dr Katie Laird and education expert Dr Sarah Younie of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). As parents themselves they knew the importanceof handwashing in preventing disease and communicating it at a young age.


child learning about handwashing from a germ's journeyAimed at children aged three to five, A Germ’s Journeyincludes illustrations which feature special thermochromic black paint. Once the child’s hand is placed upon the paint, the microbes present appear on the hands in the book and the black paint vanishes.


Dr Laird, Head of DMU’s Infectious Disease Research Group, said the idea was to introduce the concept of the ‘invisible germ’ to youngsters. She said: “Often children cannot understand that there are germs on their hands because they cannot see them.

“Working through the book they can see the germs appear and it allows teachers, parents and carers to have the conversation around handwashing. It also demonstrates clean hands after washing hands.  At the back of the book is information for teachers on how to interact with the book and teach pupils about germs.”

The project was funded by the Society of Applied Microbiology and the book has now been taken on by Medina Publishing Ltd, while a website with games, downloads and tips for parents and teachers has been created too. All of the educational resources are free at the point of access.


Copies of the book have been distributed to preschools and nurseries, toddler stay and play groups and internationally, via a charity in Kenya, and Dr Laird and Dr Younie have also partnered with teachers in India and Sierra Leone to co-create culturally relevant books for their regions.

Dr Katie LairdMost recently, they teamed up with Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum to provide educational resources that teach children the importance of handwashing. A Germ’s Journey forms part of the museum’s new MiniBrum gallery; a child-sized world designed for youngsters to explore their understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through different role-play zones.


Working with the DMU researchers, the Thinktank team co-ordinated and organised the creation of a handwashing song with children from Benson Community School in Birmingham and musicians from Bridge Arts and Music that will be played in the MiniBrum toilets for children to join in with.


The museum will also incorporate A Germ’s Journey games and activities throughout the exhibition and offer health hygiene workshops for schoolchildren as part of its educational programme.


Win a copy of A Germ’s Journey to share with your class

We have 5 copies up for grabs of A Germ’s Journey!

To be in with a chance of winning a copy to share with your pupils all you need to do is answer this simple question.


What does handwashing prevent?

A.  A mucky classroom

B.  Disease

C.  Fun


Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms & Conditions

***The administrator of this competition is QA Education Magazine (“administrator”). By participating in the competition, each Entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Administrator, which shall be final and binding in all respects. Administrator is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the competition. Entrants should look solely to Administrator with any questions, comments or problems related to the Competition. Administrator may be reached by email at socialmedia@euromediaal.com during the Promotion Period. 
* This giveaway will close at 12.00am, 1st September 2019.
* The prize is one in five copies of A Germ’s Journey book. The prize is non-transferable, non-refundable. There is no cash alternative.
* Open to UK residents aged 18 or over, excluding employees of the Administrator, the sponsor, their families and anyone else professionally connected with this promotion. 
* There is one compulsory entry which requests that to enter the competition you answer a question based on the classroom books. Additional entries are available. 
* The prize winner will be asked to provide their email address so that contact can be made to arrange prize delivery, and their name and county be published in the next issue of the magazine  
* By entering the competition, you grant the Administrator permission to add your details to the mailing list, share your email address and any other personally identifiable information with the other competition Entities for the purpose of administration and prize fulfillment, including use in a publicly available Winners list.
* Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified 
*  The winners will be chosen using the random entry selector built into the widget.
* The winners will be informed by email within 5 days of the closing date, and must respond within 5 days to claim their prize. If there is no response within the 5 days and new winner will be drawn at random.
*This prize draw is governed by English law and the courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising in connection with it.
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