in the Arm.
Each fall thousands of people get flu shots. Use reference
books, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet to
research the influenza vaccine and how it works. Create
a poster that shows the pros and cons of getting annual
flu shots, and make recommendations about who should
get these shots.
Who Has the Right?
During the flu epidemic of 1918, local governments
tried to keep the epidemic from spreading. Public
places were closed, whole towns were quarantined,
and people were forced to wear masks. Research the
deadly effects of this epidemic and how different
governments responded, including the variety of regulations
they imposed. Then write an essay that discusses whether
you believe the government has the right to impose
such regulations at the sacrifice of individual rights.
To Kill a Virus.
In 1980, smallpox was declared eliminated worldwide.
But two collections of the virus remain frozen in
vials, under heavy security. One in Atlanta, Georgia,
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
and the other is in Moscow, Russia. There are concerns
that terrorists may have gained access to the virus
and attempt to use it against the public. Have students
research the pros and cons of maintaining these collections.
Then hold a class debate about whether or not the
viruses should be destroyed.
Major Walter Reed was a military physician who, in
the late 1800s, led a team of army research scientists
in a study of the cause and spread of yellow fever
in Cuba. Because of his work, the United States was
able to build the Panama Canal, which joins the Atlantic
and Pacific Oceans. A French group had failed some
20 years earlier when their canal construction work
was halted due to an outbreak of yellow fever. Research
yellow fever, focusing on Walter Reed?s contributions
and how the spread of this disease is prevented today.
A Close Second.
Both Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin worked on developing
a polio vaccine. Salk took polio viruses and ?killed?
them with formaldehyde to create his vaccine. Sabin
designed a vaccine with weakened ?live?
viruses. As it turned out, Salk?s vaccine was
the first to be used on the general public. Research
the risks of both Salk?s and Sabin?s methods,
and discuss the ethics of testing vaccines on people.
Write a short story depicting the outbreak of a mysterious
disease. Where is the setting for the outbreak? How
does the virus spread? What happens to the victims?
Then come up with a step-by-step plan to stop your
virus from spreading.
See How They Spread.
Get your entire school to participate in this experiment
that demonstrates how a virus can invade one cell
and wind up infecting a great many more. Select a
student in your class to give two other kids a secret
message. It should be a simple statement, and it should
be written on a piece of paper to make sure that it
is communicated accurately. At the end of the day,
take a poll of homerooms or have an assembly to count
up how many kids received the message.
Viral Action Scrapbook.
Viruses make the headlines all the time. Keep track
of viral action by gathering interesting articles
about viruses and diseases. Look for images in magazines,
newspapers, and on the Internet. Look at advertisements.
How do people use diseases to sell? How are viruses
both harmful and helpful? What effects do viruses
have on people and the environment? How do they affect
you and your family, your school, the country, and