Teacher’s Questions for Wanted: ‘Smart’ cleaners


Before reading:

  1. Keeping clean is a lot of work. Starting with yourself, make a list of the everyday objects in your life that need regular cleaning or washing.
  2. “Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Explain why this is true.

During reading:

  1. What is an active surface?
  2. List some of the advantages of an active surface.
  3. What binds bug stains to the paint on cars?
  4. Explain the role enzymes play in creating special stain-resistant car paint.
  5. How did Hongfei Jia’s experiment show the special paint works?
  6. Why did Gang Sun engineer specially treated fabrics to produce hydrogen peroxide?
  7. Why would it be so important to reduce the number of bacteria in hospitals?
  8. Describe how the Swiss researchers used calcium phosphate to expose bacteria to tiny but deadly silver particles.
  9. How can fungi help eliminate bacteria?

After reading:

  1. Brainstorm with a partner some applications for active surfaces that would improve hygiene.
  2. Why would manufacturers add enzymes to laundry detergents?
  3. Review the active surface research discussed in this article. Which would you like to know more about? Explain your answer.

Social Studies

  1. When might it be inappropriate, unwise or unsafe to use an active surface? Explain your answer.
  2. Tiny particles of silver are being added to everything from toys to toothpaste because of their germ-killing properties. However, no one really knows the effect these particles have once they are released into the environment. How would you address this issue? Explain your answer.