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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans

Ah Choo!
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
  • Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
  • Steps -- Conducting the lesson
  • Extensions -- Additional Activities.
  • Tips -- Managing resources and student activities

Student Prerequisites:
This activity requires that students know the fundamental differences between bacteria and viruses. They should also have been taught how to distinguish between mutualistic, commensalistic, and parasitic microorganisms.

  • World and United States maps - 1 set per three students.
  • Globes - 4 per class of 25.
  • Graph paper - 1 sheet per student.
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

The following sites should be bookmarked:

  • Centers for Disease Control

    This U.S. public health agency site presents information on specific diseases, prevention guidelines, scientific data, and funding information.

  • Bugs in the News

    This site provides students with humorous articles about bugs, microorganisms, the immune system, antibiotics, bacterial and viral diseases, and molecular biology.

  • Health: Diseases and Conditions

    This site offers a comprehensive disease guide, which lists the most common illnesses. This should be used only as a general guide since at times the information requires a solid biology base. However, students can learn enough from the site to know what effect a particular illness has on humans, as well as its transmission.

  • Operation Clean Hands

    Operation Clean Hands is designed to teach the public about the health risks associated with poor hand-washing habits. The site is full of gory stories and facts about diseases one can get from not washing one's hands correctly.

  • The Why Files

    This site provides students with science information related to recent news stories. (Go to "More Stories" and then "Health.") For example, it describes anthrax and gives information on how one can protect oneself against an anthrax attack. The site provides an excellent starting point for finding the most recent articles on many different aspects of microbiology and disease outbreaks.


Time Allotment: This lesson requires approximately 3-4 class periods.
  • Have students create lists of illnesses they have been exposed to or have been inoculated against and discuss how they think they got (or could get) them.

  • Have students use the Web sites provided on the Student Pathway, in Organizers for Students, to research common illnesses. Have students choose five illnesses. For each illness, students should record who the illness affects and how it is transmitted.

  • Once students have learned how to search for diseases, divide them into groups that represent different countries. Tell your students that they just won trips to the furthermost reaches of the countries they've been assigned, but there are a lot of diseases that can make their vacation a nightmare. What will they have to know and do in order to make the vacation exciting but not devastating?

    After conducting further Web research about diseases in their assigned countries, students should role-play (doctor, travel agent, and epidemiologist) in an attempt to find ways to prevent and diagnose different diseases that occur.


Social Studies:
Have students research the political and economic situations of assigned countries, and discuss if there is a correlation between disease rates and the economic states of the countries.

Language Arts:
Have students read THE HOT ZONE by Richard Preston or THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN by Michael Crichton and relate the issues in those books to everyday life. In addition, teachers can have students review and critique disease-related articles from tabloids and other papers for hyperbole and general scientific value.

For advanced classes, certain statistical tools may be taught when interpreting the data generated from epidemiological surveys. A site designed for middle school students to consult for additional help is called "Statistics Every Writer Should Know" (


One Computer in the Classroom
If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working, have them switch places.

If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

Several Computers in the Classroom
Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

Using a Computer Lab
A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students