B.E. January Activities: Infectious Disease

What is an antigen? How do viruses reproduce? How do vaccines work?

This month’s Britannica School update for Britannica Educators is crawling with ways to inject infectious disease facts into your lesson plans.

You can use Britannica lessons with Britannica School (try it for free here) or use them with your own classroom resources!

What’s bugging you?

Humans live in a world where many other living things compete for food and places to breed. Some of these—bacteria, for instance—live on and inside the human body and contribute to key bodily functions like digestion.

Most organisms protect themselves against microbes in more ways than one—with physical barriers like skin, for example, or with chemicals that exterminate invaders. Vertebrates (animals with backbones) have these general protections, but we also have a more advanced defense: an immune system.

The immune system is a complex network of organs that produce cells designed
to seek and destroy foreign substances in the body. It protects vertebrates
against pathogens—infectious agents, or simply, germs—such as virusesbacteriafungi, and other parasites.

The immune system can usually keep pathogens from causing too much damage.
But dangerous microbes do find a way in sometimes. In other cases, organisms
living peacefully within the body become too numerous or acquire harmful
characteristics. When this happens, an immune response is triggered. In other
words, you get sick.

So grab the hand sanitizer, get a flu shot, and check out the following resources
to introduce your students to some germs.


Elementary Resources

Watch this video on the common cold:

Click to watch on Britannica School

Britannica School users can find our curated collection
of related entries for elementary students here:
Diseases and the Immune System (Elementary)

That should get you started using Britannica School to cover the ins and outs
of getting sick. Now, pardon us while we go wash our hands.

Secondary Resources

Explore content on advanced topics for mature learners here.

Or Britannica School users can find our curated collection of related entries for secondary students here: Diseases and the Immune System (Advanced)

Don’t have access to Britannica School? Try it for two weeks free!

Try this with your class? How did it go? Tweet us feedback to @BritannicaLearn.

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Kelli Johns

Assistant Director of Education Consultants

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