877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #: AELP-BIO0204
Submitted by: Brighton Oothoudt
Email: bri010@earthlink.net
School/University/Affiliation: California State University, Long Beach

March 26, 2003

Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Science/Biology
  • Social Studies/Current Events/Issues
  • Computer Science

Duration: Four 52-minute sessions

Description: Students will role-play and act as a part of a team that has been working locally for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) near Jonesville, California (population 425,000). Jonesville has just been warned of a possible bioterrorist attack in their city, and the CDC has decided to move the team in to assess the situation. Each group will present recommendations to a city council to prepare for the bioterrorist attack. Each group will be assigned a biological agent to research. Then, within each group, students will decide who is going to assume the role of a microbiologist, a cartographer, a physician, and an administrator. Questions appearing under each role will assist each student in researching his or her part. While each member is responsible for completing the work in his or her role in the group, students will also be responsible for drawing up recommendations, along with the other members of the team, on how to combat this serious issue. A computer-generated slide show (i.e. PowerPoint) will be used for students’ presentations.

Goals: California Biology/Life Sciences Content Standards :

10. Organisms have a variety of mechanisms to combat disease. As a basis for understanding the human immune response:

  • d. Student know there are important differences between bacteria and viruses with respect to their requirements for growth and replication, the body’s primary defenses against bacterial and viral infections, and effective treatments of these infections.

Objective: After completion of a webquest about bioterrorism, students will be able to accurately demonstrate their knowledge of the seriousness of a biological terrorist attack, rates of infection, and the preventive measures of such an attack through a presentation to a pseudo city council. Materials:

  • computers with Internet access and Microsoft PowerPoint
  • pens/pencils
  • paper
  • Text Copy of WebQuest
  • Text Copy of WebQuest in .pdf format; requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    Click the icon to obtain the free Reader.

First, as a group, students will decide on a biological agent (Smallpox, Anthrax, West Nile Virus, Ebola, or a current threat as described by the CDC). They should check with the teacher to see if that biological agent is okay to use in the webquest. The members of each group decide who will assume the responsibilities of each of the four roles. They will then brainstorm and begin to develop a plan of action to determine the organization, contents, and look of the presentation.

Using the sites listed in the Resource section, each member will begin to research the project. Questions listed under their role in the Task section will help them to locate information. Encourage students to find some pictures that they can use to help illustrate his or her section, if applicable. Notes should be taken as students do their research, and they should bookmark any sites that they find useful so that they can refer to them again quickly if necessary. The resources should be included in the report and at the end of each group presentation.

After completion of the research, each member should begin to write the rough draft for his or her role. Once each member has completed his/her section, they should meet with their group to share reports. This is a great time to revise and edit reports as well as share findings and any ideas. Then they can write the final draft.

As a group they will organize a presentation for the city council meeting using the ideas from the reports and all the research they have gathered. Assessment: The end product of this webquest will be a presentation at a city council meeting recommending what to do in case of a bioterrorist attack. Each CDC team member of the team will be responsible for his/her section of research and one-page report while the recommendation will be arrived at through the cooperative efforts of the entire group. A rubric is included within the webquest to grade the group on their efforts in reference to the role/questions answered of each member, purpose of the report, grammar and syntax of the report, the context and visual appeal of the presentation, and the research gathered.

Useful Internet Resources:
* Bioterrorism – A Webquest for grades 9-12 (Biology)
Designed by Brian Oothoudt

* California Biology/Life Sciences Content Standards

* CDC – Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response

* US Food and Drug Administration – Counterterrorism

* West Nile Virus

* World Health Organization – Smallpox

* Hidden Worlds Collide

* Emerging Infectious Diseases

* Anthrax

* ScienceNet

* Special Pathogens Branch