Epidemic! The Natural History of Disease.  At the San Diego Natural History Museum

Pre-visit Activities

 

For Elementary Students

 

How Lou Got the Flu

Where does the flu come from? Many scientists think the flu comes from ducks in China. How can a virus travel around the world? And why did I get the flu when I got a flu shot last year and this year? Discuss these questions, using pages 8 and 9 of Infection, Detection, and Prevention or the online version on the American Museum of Natural History website. (Remember to bookmark this page, so you can come back easily.)

The Amazing Microbe Hunters

Have your students learn about the groundbreaking scientists that helped to understand how microbes are responsible for diseases, then report to the class. Have students do "The Amazing Microbe Hunters" maze on pages 10 and 11 of Infection, Detection, and Protection. There is an online version on the American Museum of Natural History website. (Requires Netscape 4 or Internet Explorer 4 or higher and Shockwave.)

Good Guys/Bad Guys

Bacteria are everywhere, in our bodies, food, air, and soil. Although it may seem like humans are at war with microbes and that they are winning, it's important to realize that most microbes are good and even necessary for life. The human intestine is teeming with nearly 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) residents!

  1. Go on a hunt for microbes in "Bacteria in the Cafeteria," pages 4 and 5 of Infection, Detection, and Protection. There is also an online version on the American Museum of Natural History website. (Requires Netscape 4 or Internet Explorer 4 or higher and Shockwave.)
  2. Have students research good bacteria and bring in three kinds of food (or pictures of food) that have good bacteria (like yogurt, cheese, bread).
  3. Ask children to research the purpose of good bacteria in food. Encourage them to use a variety of sources such as the Internet, library, or the school nurse.
 

For Middle School and High School Students

 

Debunking the Myths

Have your students do the Infectious Disease Quiz. Explore common misconceptions and determine the students' baseline knowledge before going to the exhibition. Students can compare their answers to others by using the PBS Fred Friendly Seminar's interactive version.

[next page] Continue to At the Museum
or go to the Infectious Disease Quiz

Banner microbe: Adenovirus (virus causing common cold)
from the American Museum of Natural History Epidemic! exhibition

Teacher's Guide | Epidemic! | Exhibits