Cholera Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn about the symptoms, spread, and prevention of cholera. They will then work in groups to devise a public education and policymaking campaign for a country with a cholera outbreak.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define the disease cholera, including how it is contracted and its symptoms
  • Discuss the role of sanitary conditions in the prevention of cholera
  • Work in groups to consider how educational campaigns can help prevent the spread of cholera


90-120 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.


Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.



  • Begin class with a basic discussion of disease.
    • What is the difference between a bacterial and viral infection? How is each spread, and how is each treated?
    • Have you heard of cholera? What is cholera? Is this a common disease that we often discuss in the United States? Why do you think that is?
  • Begin video lesson Cholera: Causes, Treatment and Prevention. Pause video at 1:37 and discuss this information as a class.
    • What is a pandemic? Does it surprise you to know that a major cholera pandemic began in 1961? Why haven't most Americans heard much about this?
    • Why do you think so many people continue to contract cholera? Why do you think cholera is so deadly?
  • Rewind a few seconds so that the map is back on the screen.
    • Where is cholera most prevalent? What do these regions have in common? Considering this map, what conditions do you think may lead to cholera? Why do you think Brazil has many cases of cholera, but Argentina does not? Why does India, but not Saudi Arabia? Besides climate, what social or economic conditions do you think can contribute to the outbreak of cholera?
  • Resume video, and pause at 4:51 to discuss this information.
    • Is cholera a bacterial or viral disease? What does this mean in terms of its spread and treatment? How can its symptoms be so dangerous?
    • What would be some of the best ways to prevent cholera? Why do you think these methods are not being implemented in many countries?
    • How do physicians diagnose cholera? In the big picture, is it easier to treat or prevent cholera?
  • Resume and complete video. Discuss this information as a class.
    • What methods of prevention are being used to stop the spread of cholera? Why do you think that everyone in the world is not vaccinated against cholera?
    • What role does access to clean water play in the prevention of cholera? What would you do if you lived in a region where clean water was scarce or inaccessible?
  • You may test student understanding with Lesson Quiz.

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