Infectious Disease Exploration

Teacher Page


assignment is for the students of Biology II
at Eads
High School
in SE Colorado.

we together explore the complexities of infectious disease, we will then delve
into the fascinating world of viruses and bacteria - the world of the
microbiologist. At times it is deadly, most times a bit smelly, but usually these guys coexist with us in mind-blowing
numbers and yet we're still around to wonder and study about them.

hear it for the



This WebQuest
was developed as part of the Infectious Disease unit by Bruce Hallman (Eads
High School).

It covers the topic of communicable diseases and helps to introduce the
students to the many microbes that can disrupt our lives, sometimes fatally. It
serves as an ice-breaker for the future units of Virology and Bacteriology, and
these reports will be referred back to as the weeks go on.


lesson is specifically for students studying Infectious agents such as viruses
and bacteria. Students will not have any specific background prior to this
assignment - it is inherently introductory.


satisfies several of the Colorado standards, including but not limited

Life Science - Colorado State Science Standards:

2.1  Matter tends to be cycled within
an ecosystem, while energy is transformed and eventually exits an ecosystem

2.2  The size and persistence of populations depend
on their interactions with each other and on the abiotic factors in an

2.3  Cellular metabolic activities are carried out
by biomolecules produced by organisms

2.6 Cells,
tissues, organs, and organ systems maintain relatively stable internal
environments, even in the face of changing external environments


learn about - Microbes

  • how particular viruses and
    bacteria cause disease
  • how others in
    the world have to
    live with horrible mortality from infectious diseases
  • how to
    organize and synthesize
    a real world product for the community's good (and for a grade!)

Students learn to:

- produce a creative report and presentation based on a real-life situation


is designed to last 4-5 periods (based on the fact a period runs for about
50 minutes - adjust accordingly). Students are required to create these
presentations on their own, not in groups.

The WebQuest
requires that you as a teacher understand and know the basic disease-causing
microbes and what diseases they produce. Students are asked to look at various
resources themselves (Internet is the main source used by my classes) and
include their sources in their presentation at the end. Students always find
things they want to share with other students or the teacher, so a basic
understanding will help guide them from the sensational to the more reliable
and solid information.

This process requires
a time to present, and in order to help everyone give their full attention, I
have them grade each other (I also have the main grading share, but I will
average their scores for each other in their grade), and I deduct from their
grade if they are rude, not listening or not participating fully.


  • computer for each student
  • internet access for each
  • student account
    log ins
  • student email
  • teacher email
  • sign-up list -
    I prefer a
    whiteboard for its visibility, and don't allow students to pick a topic
    has already been chosen by someone else. Within a short time I allow for
    switching to a topic no one has yet chosen.
  • websites
    (links in the
    but students quickly find more)
  • one classroom teacher
    is sufficient
  • projector with
    screen or white


This WebQuest
could easily be adapted for a younger audience, or one with limited computer access. Using textbooks, journals, magazines, or personal interviews of medical personnel, students could gain knowledge of the various contagious pathogens that make us sick.

For younger students, or those with limited computer access, poster boards would make a reasonable substitute for PowerPoint slides, where they can draw pictures, paste illustrations/graphs and list the important points by hand. Either way, they still need to present a quality "press conference" about the epidemic of their choosing.

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