Glencoe Life Science

Unit 4: Human Body Systems




Epidemiology is the study of the causes of diseases. Epidemiologists are scientists who conduct research into how disease is spread among populations. Their investigations lead to strategies for how to control and prevent the spread of illnesses. Five diseases—cholera, the flu epidemic of the 20th century, malaria, polio, and smallpox—are among many diseases that have plagued people for centuries. What different processes did scientists use to study these five diseases? What were some of the misconceptions people had about these diseases before scientists were able to understand their causes and how to prevent them? In this WebQuest, you will explore five different diseases that have affected people throughout history to find the answers to these questions. You will also create a time line to describe the history of one of these diseases and how it impacts worldwide health today.



Your job in this WebQuest is to learn about diseases that have affected people for hundreds of years. You will investigate five different diseases to learn how scientists have worked to prevent their spread among populations. You will answer a set of questions about these diseases and their prevention to demonstrate what you have learned. Once you've conducted some research to increase your knowledge of these diseases and their prevention, you'll select one of the diseases to investigate further. You'll create a time line that shows key dates in the study of that disease as well as other dates and events that occurred during the same period of time. The purpose of the time line is to show how scientific study has led to discoveries that help prevent the spread of disease. You'll include a description of each date on the time line and summarize the current state of prevention of this disease.



2-3 days to answer the set of questions and produce the time line and its descriptions



First, read through the following set of questions before you begin your Internet research. As you explore each site, look for answer to the questions.

Questions about Investigating Disease and Prevention

  1. How did John Snow use maps to study the spread of cholera?
  2. What were some of the misconceptions people had about the cause of the flu epidemic of 1918?
  3. How effective was Jonas Salk’s initial testing of the polio vaccine?
  4. What are some strategies used to prevent contracting malaria?
  5. What did Edward Jenner discover about the relationship between smallpox and cowpox?

Next, visit the Web sites provided below to get more information about one of the diseases you researched to create a time line. Your time line should include important dates that led to discoveries about causes of and ways to prevent the disease. Write a summary about the importance of each date. You should also include dates and summaries in your time line for other relevant historic events of the period. The end of your time line should include a description of how the disease you researched currently affects people around the world.



Look at the web sites given here to find the information that will help you answer questions about different diseases and their prevention, and to gather information to use as you build your time line.

You may use these resources to help you develop your time line:



In the process of completing this WebQuest, you've become informed about five different diseases: cholera, the flu epidemic of the 20th century, malaria, polio, and smallpox. You have read information to answer questions about this topic, and have increased your knowledge of how scientists have studied these diseases in the quest to minimize their impact on people and discover effective treatments. You've also used your research skills to create a time line that describes how one of these diseases has affected people throughout history.



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