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Germs, germs, everywhere!

Medical student Garrison Pease introduces Century second graders Simone Wolff, left, and Emily Schulz to germs via a microscope. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)1 / 3
Kim Berghuis, above, shows the students the results of hand washing vs. not washing via growth of microorganisms in a petri dish. The kids have learned another use for the ABCs - something to be recited while washing hands. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)2 / 3
Garrison Pease, right, assists Aneka Gorder with her mask. The students gained a keen respect for the microscopic beings that bring on virus and infection. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)3 / 3

Germs have invaded Century School Steph Mercil's second grade classroom.

By invitation.

As part of the science curriculum, students were introduced not only to the microbes, but also to medical student Garrison Pease and Kim Berghuis, division manager for Essentia.

The duo added "culture" - germs, that is - to the classroom.

The students witnessed "first hand" how washing is key to reducing bacteria. Monday, swabs were taken of a student's dirty hands, hands washed in mere water and fingers that had undergone a good washing with soap (a recitation of the ABCs considered to be the appropriate duration of a scrub).

Wednesday, they witnessed just what appears in a petri dish from the three-hands experiment, what bacteria looks like through the lens of a microscope and magnified "cooties" on the Smart Board.

Pease introduced rhinovirus, E. coli and salmonella, explaining proper washing and cooking of food are key components to avoiding illness.

But the body, they learned, has a dandy defense mechanism against germs, nose hair and white blood cells among them.

Then, donning masks and gloves, the students began creating their own fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoa.

Germs, they ascertained, are great art forms, given their round, rod and spiral formations.

Their creative endeavors sent class into overtime. Math was placed on hold while the germ-makers continued their works of art.