Introduction

Pandemics can easily be stressful and anxiety-provoking if people are not given information in an appropriate manner. Media coverage of a pandemic often causes mass hysteria amongst people who surf the Internet reading everything and anything they can to stay well-informed. Additionally, teaching students about pandemics that are occurring is just as important as teaching them about ones that have occurred.

Resources

There are several resources available to help teachers learn how to effectively teach their students about pandemics.

Lesson Plans

  1. Pandemic Lesson Plan Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience This lesson plan is provided by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience and allows students and teachers to understand pandemics through various classroom and individual activities. It contains a lesson plan with objectives and required resources, and step-by-step instructions on how to implement it. It goes as far as providing important information about pandemics, how to be prepared, a student assignment, real-lie stores, and related links. Some of the information is specific to Australia, but can be easily adapted to apply to other areas. 
  2. Pandemics Worksheets and Teaching Resources This is a specific marketplace that is trusted by teachers and provides original educational resources for a variety of topics. It has an entire category devoted to pandemics with math projects, activities, presentations about various pandemics that have occurred, informational content on being prepared for pandemics, and more!
  3. Instructional Videos on Pandemics This article provides teachers with a few exceptional videos on pandemics and includes the source, grade levels it can be used for, length, description, and why it stands out. It is a nice way to incorporate visuals and help students understand the severity of different infectious diseases that impacted society throughout history. 

Articles

  1. Infectious Disease Pandemic Planning and Response This journal article gives information about pandemic planning and response by incorporating decision analysis. It covers the role of modeling in the current pandemic response policy and a decision support system for pandemic response. It emphasizes the overall importance of planning and the flaws in the current pandemic policy documents, problems in gaining a timely situational awareness, decision models, and more!
  2. Lessons Learned From 1918 Influenza Pandemic This article discusses the lessons learned from the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed 50 million people worldwide. It reviews the severity of the pandemic and the viral, genetic, and immune factors that contributed to it. It answers the questions of why the virus was more disastrous than others and why some survived while others did not. 

Informational Sites

  1. What is a Pandemic? This general informational article provides information about how a pandemic, endemic, outbreak, and epidemic are based on how common it is at a point in time compared to how common it was at a different point in time. 
  2. Planning and Preparedness Resources The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined global planning, federal resources for planning, and state/local government planning for pandemics. It discusses the overall importance of being prepared for them even though they occur infrequently. It goes into depth about the basics of pandemics, past pandemics, the national pandemic strategy, and the role the CDC plays in the protection of citizens against pandemics. 

Conclusion

Teaching students about pandemics is important during all stages of their occurrence. It is vital to their understanding of how the world has dealt with pandemics in the past, policy for prevention in the present, and to ease anxiety/stress if and when the time comes when we need to deal with it again.

Additional Resources

  1. The Black Death This article discusses the Black Plague which killed over 50 million people (60% of Europe’s population). It talks about its origins as well as how it spread so quickly.
  2. Ready Kids Ready Kids has tools and information for teaching kids, teens, families, and educators/organizations about how to handle pandemics before, during, and after they occur. It has games for children, volunteer/leader opportunities for teens, guides for family preparedness, and tools for teachers.