Jump to this Activity »
Birds, Mosquitoes, and Viruses


In this activity, students distinguish between direct and indirectly transmitted diseases and participate in a group game to simulate the spread of vector-borne diseases. They then research a particular pathogenic disease to learn how global warming and biodiversity loss can affect disease transmission.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»


Public Health
See more on this topic.

Grade Level

Middle (6-8)
See more at this grade level.

May be appropriate for high school students with some modifications.

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
Other materials addressing:
A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
Other materials addressing:
E) Environmental Issues.

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

  • Start with a test game and make sure the anticipated learning actually takes place before launching into the game.
  • Continue reminding the students of the implications of the game sequences.
  • Have students read current articles on the spread of Malaria, Dengue Fever, Hantavirus, and West Nile virus in conjunction with this activity so they understand how the different diseases are spread.
  • Clarify the role of bacteria in our environment and our bodies. The "How Diseases Get Spread" article makes it sound like all bacteria are bad. Be sure to give examples of how many bacteria are essential in creating healthy soil, healthy digestion, and the processing of waste in ecological systems.

About the Science

  • Activity is based on a game to understand vector based diseases but explores the science behind the spread of three different diseases as a result of global warming.
  • Science behind the spread of the example diseases needs to be supported by more background material and an introduction to effects of global warming.
  • Climate change is only one of many factors that come into play with the spread of disease and potential pandemics, which should be stressed.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The teacher needs to provide additional, up-to-date background materials and actively guide students through the research component of this activity.
  • Scaffolding for the game is well done, but the guiding questions for the research part need more substance.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Game directions need to be clarified very explicitly - otherwise this could end in chaos.

Jump to this Activity »

Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion

Log in to reply