Why should this hamster wash its hands before eating the peanut? In this post, we provide a variety of sources to use with students to understand responsible decision-making during COVID.
Before you begin reading, check out and download the student guide we created to accompany this post.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, you may have seen videos on TikTok, like the hamster giving advice against #CoronaVirus.
Like the hamster video, the CDC recommends washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
Washing your hands is a good decision, but not a choice people always make! In 2003, a survey by the American Society for Microbiology reported that almost 30 percent of people don't wash their hands after using the restroom at airports. In the article, they provided this table of results from different airports.
What did you notice? Which airport had the most hand washers? Why do you think Toronto International Airport had the most hand washers in 2003? What happened in 2003 that might have influenced individuals in Toronto to wash their hands?
According to the CDC, in 2003, Toronto, Canada experienced a major SARS outbreak. How do outbreaks like SARS or COVID-19 impact our decision-making? How can not washing your hands impact your health and wealth?
MIT news reported on a study of hand washing that used epidemiological modeling and data-based simulations to model hand washing at airports. Based on past findings, the research team estimated that on average only 20 percent of people in airports have clean hands–where they have washed their hands at least 15 seconds, within the last hour. Through modeling they estimated that tripling the rate to 60 percent could potentially slow disease spread by 70 percent!
The researchers recommended using education, posters, and public service announcements to increase the prevalence of clean hands. Like the hamster hand washing video, many other public service announcements have flooded social media globally. One of the most popular videos was the TikTok dance challenge created to fight the coronavirus. Before you watch the Inside Edition news video, think about how the impact of hand washing on the spread of a virus. Then, during viewing, take notes on how hand washing can get rid of the germs that cause illness.
The TikTok Dance Challenge to Fight Coronavirus spread virally, inspiring people to upload their own songs and dances.
Now check out the Baby Shark and CBC Kids News hand washing challenges.
After viewing: What did you learn? How did the Public Service Announcement use persuasive language, images, and sound? How can you use these strategies in your own Public Service Announcement?
Now, consider some of the reasons why should convince people to wash their hands. What are the potential financial consequences of not washing hands? What about the economic impact on a business? Use the persuasive planning organizer to record your ideas. Then create your own song or performance about hand washing!
As a second activity, check out the article we pulled from this week's Tampa Bay Times NIE Use the News: Trash Those Wipes. Before you read, think about the title. What do you think Trash Those Wipes means? While you read Part 1 of the article, mark the text and take notes about the problems wipes can cause and the solutions recommended in the text.
After reading Part 1, organize your thoughts into the problem-solution organizer.
Now read Part 2 of the text. Find and read articles about people and businesses disinfecting surfaces. Create ads or social media posts about making the decision to disinfect surfaces.
Extension: What are some of the jobs that are important during this COVID-19 outbreak. Consider the medical profession, education, and businesses who are manufacturing essential goods. Conduct some online research about the professions. What training and skills are required? What are the costs and benefits of making different career choices?
Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.