Our immune system generally fights any pathogenic microbes that may enter our bodies and helps keep us healthy. It has three major lines of defence:

  • Stopping pathogens from entering our body
  • Non-specific White Blood Cells
  • Specific White Blood Cells

We can help our immune system fight microbes by getting vaccinated. Vaccines are used to prevent, rather than treat infection. A vaccine is usually made from weak or inactive versions of the same microbes that make us ill. In some cases, the vaccines are made from cells which are similar to, but not exact copies of, the microbe cells that make us ill.

In this lesson plan, students explore the concept of herd immunity and how vaccinating a large majority of the population can protect everyone. They also learn that different vaccines are required to prevent different infections, and that the types of vaccines needed depend on where we live and travel.

Learning Outcomes:

  • All students will:
  • Understand that the human body has many natural defences to fight infection, including the 3 main lines of defence
  • Understand that vaccines help prevent a range of bacterial and viral infections
  • Understand that the most common infections such as the common cold or sore throat are not prevented by vaccines
  • Most students:
  • Understand how the HPV vaccination and screening can reduce the risk of infection and cancer

Activities Include:

  • Introduction
  • Class discussion on how vaccines work
  • Main Activity
  • Herd Immunity Scenario
  • Extension Activities
  • World Map Activity

Curriculum Links:

  • Science:
    • Working scientifically
    • Cells and organisation
    • Experimental skills and investigations
    • Analysis and evaluation
    • Health and prevention
  • English:
    • Reading
    • Writing
  • Geography:
    • Human and physical geography
    • Geographical skills and fieldwork