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Lesson Information:

Curricular Area: Life Science, Medicine, Language Arts, Geography, and vocational studies

Grade Level: 10 - 12 Grade

Length of Lesson:

10 Classroom Periods (With Computer Access)
or 12 Library Periods (With Computer Access)

Overview: Students will become a part of a CDC "Outbreak" team and search for the infectious agent that is terrorizing a desert town by killing its inhabitants. Students will research what members of the CDC team do and use those skills to discover what the agent is and how to isolate and control it.

Goal / Purpose: Students will:

discuss different roles in the medical field

demonstrate how to utilize the Internet for research

describe various infectious diseases and their prevention / treatment

discuss and organize various methods to be used to contain the outbreak organism

will write a group report based on their research

will conduct a presentation of their findings.

Lesson Preparation

Prerequisite Learning: Students will have complete chapter studies in microbiology to include bacteria and viruses.

Students will be given a 3-4 hour introduction into how to use a word processing program (AppleWorks), Internet research, saving programs to disk, printing, and using a presentation program (AppleWorks or PowerPoint).


Access to Computer Station
Access to the Internet
Word processing Software
Presentation Software
AVID Cinema
QuickTime 3.0
Projection System
Graphic Software


Students will be evaluated by the teacher on how well they worked as a team to solve the outbreak problem and how well they reported their results. Teachers may wish to use the provided rubric.

California State Standards Met:

6. Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects.
As a basis for understanding this concept, students know:

a. biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms, and is affected by alterations of habitats.

b. how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of non-native species, or changes in population size.

c. how fluctuations in population size in an ecosystem are determined by the relative rates of birth, immigration, emigration, and death.

10. Organisms have a variety of mechanisms to combat disease.

As a basis for understanding the human immune response, students know:

a. the role of the skin in providing nonspecific defenses against infection.

b. the role of antibodies in the body's response to infection.

c. how vaccination protects an individual from infectious diseases.

d. there are important differences between bacteria and viruses, with respect to their requirements for growth and replication, the primary defense of the body against them, and effective treatment of infections they cause.

Extension Questions:

What does the future hold?

What can we do to stop outbreaks in large population groups?

Can treatments for viruses like AIDS help us with future outbreaks?

Can an outbreak be stopped in a large metropolitan population?

Do you think the U.S should promote virus treatment research in the rain forest biome areas of the world?


Teacher Resource Information:

California Technology Assistance Project
Blue Web'n Learning Sites
Classroom Connect
Resources for Teachers
Online Educator


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation/Conclusion | Teacher Page

Mark Kirk
Date Last Modified: 8/23/99
Developed for S.C.O.R.E.