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 timeline to describe the history
of one of these diseases and how it impacts worldwide health
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 timeline 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 timeline 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 timeline and summarize the current state of prevention
of this disease.
2-3 days to answer the set of questions and produce the
timeline 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
- How did John Snow use maps to study the spread of cholera?
- What were some of the misconceptions people had about
the cause of the flu epidemic of 1918?
- How effective was Jonas Salk’s initial testing
of the polio vaccine?
- What are some strategies used to prevent contracting
- 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 timeline.
Your timeline 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 timeline for other
relevant historic events of the period. The end of your
timeline 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 timeline.
You may use these resources to help you develop your timeline:
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 timeline that describes how one of these diseases has affected people throughout history.