Thanks to El Nino’s warm tentacles, in Eastern Oregon, at least currently, there are four seasons: spring, summer, fall and flu.
And while there’s a big difference between the flu and a cold, anyone who has experienced the wrenching spasms of a cold will tell you it’s anything but common. They’ll also tell you they’d do almost anything to avoid a repeat performance.
A unique experiment conducted at Union High School by eighth-grade students in Greg Poor’s life sciences class recently showed just how quickly germs can spread. The students dispensed small amounts of Glowing Germ, a harmless solution, at four locations. Within an hour, 24 of the 100 students who had been in the building were found to have traces of Glowing Germ.
Sure, this isn’t rocket science. And of course we don’t want to turn the students into a bunch of hypochondriacs. But Poor’s students learned invaluable lessons on how fast germs can spread, and why good hygiene is so important.
It’s further proof that through lessons learned at school, each youth can make a difference in the future, and each teacher can make a difference today.
Poor is just one of many caring teachers in Northeast Oregon with a commitment to excellence. We especially applaud the teachers when they teach general problem-solving skills and give students hands-on opportunities for learning.
Such learning is more possible in human-scale schools like Union’s, not factory outlets as are so often seen in the bigger cities. The experiment further shows that the power of education goes beyond the three Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic — and extends into the realm of health, and lifestyle choices that can make a difference in our quality of life.
A school’s No. 1 goal should be to instill a lifelong love of learning, and applying that learning to having better lives. Even if that only means frequent, thorough hand-washing during flu season, and year around for that matter, Poor’s science experiment taught the kids and all of us a valuable lesson.