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Publication #4H HEL 70.7

Headlines for Health! Moldy Advice1

Joy Jordan, Hyun-Jeong Lee, Susan Williams, and Jessica Kochert2

Key Concept

Students learn basic knowledge of mold growth and prevention by playing memory. They will then answer hypothetical mold questions from “readers” for their newspaper.

Subject Matter outcome: Students will be able to identify different problems mold can cause as well as ways to detect and eliminate mold problems.

Targeted Age: 5th Grade

Time Needed: 45–60 minutes

  • Memory Card Set—see below (1 set per PAIR of students)

  • Large container

Advance Preparation: Review Project Overview and Background Basics

Copy the “Memory Card Sets” on cardstock. Cut out cards and place them into small Ziploc sandwich baggies.

Let's Begin

How many of you have ever played the game “Memory”? Today, we are going to play Moldy Memory! Everyone choose a partner. Students may also know this game as Concentration.

After students choose their partners, have them set up their memory boards. Shuffle your cards upside-down and then place in a 4 x 6 grid. Give a brief overview of the game if the students are not familiar with how to play. You may even want to play a Sample Round. Now, let’s play. Make sure you don’t just match the pictures, but look at the information on the cards. This will be important in the next step of our game. Allow students to play 1 or 2 rounds.

Once they have finished, say Now that you have played Moldy Memory, flip all the cards face-up. I want you and your partner to figure out how these cards can be put into groups. Arrange your cards into their groups. Once everyone is finished, we will compare the groups we came up with. Though students may come up with other possibilities, three major groups exist: health problems caused by mold, how to detect or predict mold growth, and how to prevent or get rid of mold growth. Discuss the information on the cards as you list the possible groupings on the board.

Remember, for mold to grow, three things must be present. What are they? (Possible answers include: warmth, moisture, and food.) Mold spores live and reproduce in wet, damp places. Let’s review the things we learned about mold.

  1. How can we tell mold might be growing in an area?

  • Musty or moldy orders, water stains or discolorations, standing water, water stains, or mold

2. How can we prevent or get rid of mold?

  • Clean and dry any damp or wet materials and furnishings within 24–48 hours of getting wet.

  • Fix the source of the water problem or leak.

  • Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent; dry surface completely.

  • Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, carpets, or wallpapers that are moldy may need to be replaced.

3. What are some possible health effects from mold growth?

  • Headaches, breathing issues, allergic reactions, and asthma attacks.

After students have reviewed the facts about mold and how to get rid of it, say Each student is going to write a question for our Healthy Homes column.

Now, each student is going to write a question for the Healthy Homes column. You are a reader who wants some advice on a mold problem that you are having at home. Maybe you’ve noticed something growing that looks fuzzy and green, or maybe you feel strange. Maybe there’s a leak that’s causing a lot of moisture, or there’s a strange smell coming from under the sink. Pick a problem to solve and then write a question for a columnist to answer.

After everyone has written a question, put all of them into a large container and mix them up. One by one have students reach into the container and pull out a question.

Now you have another question to add to the HEALTHY HOMES column in your newspaper. Write your answer the way an advice columnist would. Include what you think the problem is and how to go about getting rid of it. Show students examples of advice columns from the paper if necessary. Allow students to complete writing their responses.

Let's Reflect

  1. Did you and your partner agree on how to categorize the Moldy Memory cards? If not, how did you come to your final answer?

  2. Did grouping the information about mold into categories make it easier to understand and remember?

  3. Was it easier to make up the Healthy Homes question or respond to it? Why?

  4. What are some practical tips you can provide to family and friends to help them avoid mold growth?

Let's Apply

  1. Anybody can give advice. Have you ever given advice to someone else?

  • Do people follow the advice you give them?

  • What type of person must you be for people to listen?

  • Is everyone’s advice worth listening to?

  • How can you figure out if advice is GOOD advice?

2. Think of different places or products that are categorized in order to help people make choices or find information. Why are categories helpful? (Examples: grocery stores, libraries, textbooks.)

This assignment is part of a series of newspaper-related pieces that each student will include in his/her own Children’s Environmental Health Newspaper. At the conclusion of this unit, students will bring the newspapers home to educate parents and other family members about the possible dangers in their own environments.

Have students add their question and answer to their HEALTHY HOMES Column (see Lesson 1, Activity 1). They should add the graphic they created in the activity for “What’s Growing On?” to complement their recommendations for creating a mold-free environment.

To aid students in creating the above newspaper pieces, refer them back to the Editor’s TIP SHEET entitled Creating a Column.

Need more ideas? Below are activities that can be integrated into this lesson for a challenge or to provide variety.

  • Each student can be given a specific mold problem to write about, rather than having youth randomly choose a question.

  • Using the Internet, students can look for mold-advice problems to see if they can identify where the mold is coming from and how to get rid of it.



This document is 4H HEL 70.7, one of a series of the 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date July 2007. Revised July 2018. Visit the EDIS website at


Joy Jordan, 4-H youth development specialist; Hyun-Jeong Lee, housing specialist; Susan Williams, grant project manager; and Jessica Kochert, graphic design and publication support, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.