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Disease Detectives
Dana Hawley
2004-2005 CSIP Fellow

Infectious diseases are on the rise worldwide, and many of the emerging diseases in humans come from wildlife or domestic animals (zoonoses). In light of these global changes, student understanding of disease must extend beyond homeostasis to a broader perspective of disease ecology: Where do new diseases come from? Why does this happen?

This curriculum gets students thinking about the ecological factors, particularly environmental change, that cause disease epidemics in humans. Because disease is a difficult topic to experiment with directly in the classroom, this unit provides a wide range of scientific data for students to interpret and evaluate.

The curriculum is set up as a mystery to capture student interest and to engage them in interpreting scientific data as “clues.” Students can work in pairs or larger groups to interpret the clues. The topic can bridge the homeostasis and ecology units, and it provides students with a good example of the interdisciplinary nature of scientific thinking.

Downloadable WORD files:

Teacher's Guide
Clues (to be given out by the teacher, 1-by-1 as they get solved)

Student Handout




Copyright 2006 CSIP, Cornell University