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Climate Change and Disease

Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

In this activity, students research the relationship between hosts, parasites, and vectors for common vector-borne diseases (VBDs) and evaluate how climate change could affect the spread of disease.

Activity takes one 45-minute class period. Computer with internet access necessary.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate's role in habitats ranges and adaptation of species to climate changes
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3a
Human health and well-being will be affected to different degrees from the impacts from climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7f

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:A) Organisms, populations, and communities
Other materials addressing:
A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
Other materials addressing:
C) Systems and connections.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • What other factors beside climate change may impact and perhaps be more important in addressing diseases?
  • CDC web resource is authoritative and a good starting point.
  • Educators may want to teach critical web surfing skills as students branch out from here. Be cautious about not assuming a particular outcome or view on organisms and climate change as this is a very complex issue that is still under much debate within the scientific community.
  • Create additional structures for students as they research and listen to peer presentations perhaps using the three perspectives suggested.
  • A jigsaw approach might be effective when regrouping the students.
  • Epstein article, while older, is still very relevant.
  • You may want to link the IPCC projections with the knowledge students have gained about their organisms to show how future populations of organisms may change with climate change.

About the Science

  • Students investigate how climate change can affect diseases worldwide.
  • Educator needs to be aware that not all diseases will spread with a warming climate - detailed research into each disease is necessary.
  • Many websites provided for students to use to find information.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Extensive background information for teacher and students.
  • Graphic organizer for climate change provided.
  • Additional graphic organizers needed for student research oral presentations to make sure students stay on task and record key information.
  • Many resources provided for student research.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • All material present ready to use.
  • Extensive directions for teacher.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Audubon website link is broken but an alternate address is http://web4.audubon.org/bird/wnv/WNVwhatsnew.htm

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