Some microbes can be harmful to humans and can cause disease: the Influenza virus causes the flu, Campylobacter bacteria can cause food poisoning and the dermatophyte fungi, such as Trichophyton, can cause diseases such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. Microbes like these are known as pathogens. Each pathogenic microbe can make us ill in different ways.

Someone who is ill because of a harmful disease-causing microbe is said to be infected. Many harmful microbes can pass from one person to another by a number of different routes – air, touch, water, food, aerosols (such as sneezes and water vapour), animals, etc. Diseases caused by such microbes are said to be infectious diseases.

In this lesson plan, students discover the different types of infectious diseases caused by harmful microbes and their characteristics. The explore how infectious diseases can spread and consider how they would manage an outbreak.

Learning Outcomes:

  • All students will:
  • Understand that sometimes microbes can make us ill and cause infection
  • Understand how harmful microbes (pathogens) can pass from person to person
  • Understand that different infections cause different symptoms
  • Understand how global travel has influenced the spread of disease
  • Most students will:
  • Understand how infectious diseases impact the local community

Activities Include:

  • Main Activity:
  • Harmful Microbes and Their Diseases
  • Extension Activities:
  • Harmful Microbes Fill in the Blanks
  • Outbreak Activity Scenario Discussion
  • Infectious Disease Timeline

Curriculum Links:

  • Science:
    • Working scientifically
    • Scientific attitudes
    • Experimental skills and investigations
  • Biology:
    • Communicable diseases
    • Structure and function of living organisms
    • Cells and organisation
    • Nutrition and digestion
    • Health and prevention
  • English:
    • Reading
    • Writing
  • Art & Design:
    • Graphic communication