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LS-HHMI Outreach Summer Curriculum Project Classroom Resource Information Form
Case Studies for Human Parasitic and Infectious Diseases
Lesson Plan Activity X
Each year approximately one third of all human deaths are caused by infectious and parasitic diseases. In developing
countries, that percentage increases to almost fifty percent. While some of these diseases have existed for centuries,
other viral diseases such as HIV and SARS have emerged in the human population much more recently.
Globalization has allowed for the transfer of these microbial pathogens across continents. In order to gain a better
understanding of human parasitic diseases, students will investigate one parasitic or infectious disease and use the
information to create a case study for the disease. As an extension activity, students can solve another student’s case
Mary Anne Lynn
Lab Activity
Homework Assignment
Reading Memorial High School
In order to gain a better understanding of human parasitic diseases, students will investigate one parasitic or
infectious disease and use the information they gather to create a case study.
The activity provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in both scientific research and
creative writing. Presenting the scientific information in the form of a case study eliminates the risk of
plagiarism while conveying scientific information and gaining fluency in writing. Teachers may opt to
assign this project as an independent learning project or as a teacher guided, inquiry-based lesson
depending on the level of their students.
There exists a wide-variety of human diseases that are caused by microbes. These organisms develop parasitic
relationships with their hosts. These diseases can be food-borne, water-borne, airborne or vector-borne. Such
diseases cause one third of all human deaths per year. Many of these diseases are characterized by specific modes of
transmission and symptoms. Some diseases are prevalent in certain geographical regions others are more widespread.
Included with the teacher’s guide is a list of guiding activities that the students should do in conjunction with the
Case study.
Ideally, students should have computer access to research their disease and type their case study.
This activity is designed to be a teacher guided, inquiry-based lesson for high school students with learning
disabilities. The level also makes it appropriate for use in middle school life science classes. The activity can be
easily modified for students of all ability levels.
Minimal. Allow time to review the
2 50-minute class periods
Class Time
material, copy handouts and create list
of web links(optional).
The Interdependence of Organisms
Organisms both cooperate and compete in ecosystems. The interrelationships and interdependencies of these
organisms may generate ecosystems that are stable for hundreds or thousands of years.
Ecology 6.3
Use a food web to identify and distinguish producers, consumers, and decomposers, and explain the transfer of
energy through trophic levels. Describe how relationships among organisms (predation, parasitism, competition,
commensalism, mutualism) add to the complexity of biological communities.
Prep Time
SIS1. Make observations, raise questions, and formulate hypotheses.
Read, interpret, and examine the credibility and validity of scientific claims in different sources of information, such
as scientific articles, advertisements, or media stories.
“How to Write a Case Study.” The Global Travel and Tourism Partnership. 2007. 16 July 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11 Jan. 2008. Department of Health and Human Services. 15 July
2008 < >.
“Epidemics Through Time Snapshots: Infectious Diseases Today.” PBS/WGBH. 15 July 2008
"Malaria." World Health Organization. 15 July 2008 <>.
Markel, H. and Doyle S.: The Epidemic Scorecarrd. The New York Times (Op-Ed Essay), April 30, 2003, p. A31.
Sanghavi, Darshak. "Warning: Yucky Parasites are Closer Than You Think." The Boston Globe 9 Nov. 2004.
14 July 2008 <>.
Assessment is listed on student handout.