Working the Epidemiologic Triangle
This activity will get students interested in infectious
diseases by discussing and charting their own experiences.
Students will, without knowing it, act like young epidemiologists.
The activity also will help you teach about the scientific
concept of the Epidemiologic Triangle using an infectious
disease example. Once students understand the Triangle,
they can apply it to other diseases they study. This exercise
will refine research, reasoning, and problem solving skills.
You will present the Epidemiologic Triangle to students
and show them how it helps organize information about a
specific disease. This is the same technique that epidemiologists
use when they are researching the outbreak of a disease.
You will use the example of Escherichia coli (E. coli)
in describing the three vertices (corners) of the Epidemiologic
Triangle. Those vertices are "agent," "host,"
and "environment." After this in-class introduction,
students will gather information about chickenpox and report
back to the class on what they have learned.
This activity fulfills science
and health education standards.
- Describe what infectious diseases are and how they spread
- Explore their own family's experience with infectious
- Describe the interaction and interdependence of agent
host, and environment—the Epidemiologic Triangle
- Apply this concept to other diseases
- Describe how epidemiologists think about the causes
and spread of an infectious disease
BAM! Body and Mind Resources:
Detectives — Profiles CDC "detectives" as they
track down the source of diseases and help stop them.
Immune Platoon — Profiles the body's own super
hero team dedicated to protecting it from infectious and
other diseases that threaten good health.
Packing — Tips for students on packing a safe
lunch that keeps them fueled all day long.
SARS — Students can track SARS and CDC's work
to stop it from the beginning in this interactive feature.
Flame Out — Students can examine the process
that CDC uses to tackle public health problems such as
Infection Detection — Students can examine the
process that CDC uses to tackle infectious diseases such
as West Nile virus.