March 9, 2009

Next time your kiddos are sick...

...let them manifest their crummies into lovable germ stuffies!

When Lo was sick with a fever last week it sparked quite an interest and much discussion about GERMs-mainly bacteria and viruses. She wanted to know what they are, how we "get them" and what they do in our bodies. Lo also repeatedly asked about bacteria and the difference between bacteria, germs, and viruses.

We started off by talking about what an organism is- living things
what microscopic means-something soooooo tiny that it can't be seen with our eyes. A million viruses could fit on the head of a pin.
what a micro-organism is-a tiny living being that can only be seen with a microscope.

Lo had been under the impression that germs are actual bugs, insects and other icky thingies.
She then learned that a germ or is a non-medical term for micro-organisms that are like tiny invaders that can make our bodies sick. These invaders can include parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses, that are so small and sneaky they creep into our bodies without being noticed. When they get in our bodies, we don't know what hit us until we have symptoms that say we've been attacked!

We talked about bacteria- tiny, one-cell creatures that get nutrients from their environments in order to live. In some cases that environment is a human body. Some infectious bacteria can cause sore throats, ear infections, cavities, and pneumonia, but some bacteria are good for our bodies. These bacteria help keep things in balance. Good bacteria live in our intestines and help us use the nutrients in the food we eat and make waste from what's left over.

We learned about viruses and how most can't survive very long if they're not inside a living thing like a plant, animal, or person. Whatever a virus lives in is called its host. When viruses get inside people's bodies, they can spread and make people sick. Viruses cause chickenpox, measles, flu, and many other diseases.

And last, Lo discovered the "good soldiers"-proteins known as antibodies. They identify, attack, and destroy germs and other foreign bad stuff in our bodies. Remember the scene from Fantastic Voyage? Where Raquel Welch gets attacked by the antibodies?!?!! My first intro to antibodies and i NEVER forgot what those were.

One evening Lo went through a good chunk of a ream of paper drawing pictures of germs and "soldiers". She was creating these scenarios and making the pictures talk to one another! I thought it might be fun to turn those drawings into something tangible as well, and suggested making stuffed micro-organisms from her drawings.

Watching her drawings take on a 3-D life of their own was a blast! Older kids will fare better with these stuffed germs without needing so much assistance. Lo required a lot of help but was still very much involved. She was the art director-she picked out the fabrics, felt, floss colors, beads, buttons, etc. and decided on the placement of everything. She helped a bit with the sewing but was a little intimidated by the needle after she pricked herself! She loved stuffing her germies when they were set to go.
The octopus lookin' one is a "good" bacteria and the 2nd one was supposed to be a virus but it was so endearing to her that it ended up turning into a "good virus" who is friends with the bacteria. In her game, I got to be the host body. Yay. She loved up one those goofy things all day and they all snuggled together in bed last night. Lo and her germs.


Anet said...

These are the cutest germs ever!
I saw some felt/stuffed germs and viruses at the science museum store. Very simple and expensive. Lo's are so much better!!!
Noah is getting a bit of a cold. This is an awesome project, thanks for sharing it! Maybe we can come up with the common cold virus.
The Rino-virus is it?

Tammy said...

That is pretty darn cool! I bet you got a kick out of watching her snuggle her germs. :)

What a lesson you helped her learn...way better than reading a little paragraph in a text somewhere down the road sitting in a school classroom.

Joy said...

Those are fantastic! I'm so impressed; what a creative way to look at the germies. We might be stealing your idea at some point. :)

dawn klinge said...

Wow! Way to make the most of an an icky situation...being sick. I'm impressed. :)

World Wide Alternative said...

How can something so icky be so beautiful? XXxx

Anne said...

Wow! Those little hand made germs are so cute!..:)

tiff said...

This is a fantastic idea...we have been talking about germs in the kinder would have been fun to have made our own stuffed snuggly germ...hee :)


Lisa Anne said...

The little "stuffies" are great. They kind of remind me of the sewing project in Amelia's Human Fertility block (Embroidered uterus and stuffed sperms), she said "no way am I making those"!!

(This is the first time in a while that I have been able to leave a comment, I don't know why I couldn't before)

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! Of course, I think we have those ickies in our bodies all the time, and we only manifest illness when we get run down and weaken our resistance. But it's more fun to make plushies :-)

Loring Wirbel said...

I smell a new line of Beanie Babies - Ty might pay big bucks for this idea.