Communicable Diseases Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

How many colds have worked their way through your class this year? A video lesson delivers key facts on communicable diseases for students and a research activity gives them the chance to dig deeper. Optional related lessons and extensions are also provided.

Learning Objectives

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

  • define 'communicable disease'
  • discuss the differences between communicable and noncommunicable diseases
  • analyze the cause, spread, and prevention of one specific communicable disease


  • 30 minutes to 1 hour for instruction
  • Up to 1 week for the activity


  • A list of communicable diseases

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


  • Begin by asking the students when they last had a cold.
  • Now ask them to consider if they caught it from someone, or if they gave it to anyone else. Discuss this as a class.
  • Now play the video lesson Epidemiology of Communicable & Noncommunicable Diseases, pausing at 00:39.
  • Now ask the class to try to explain the difference between communicable and noncommunicable diseases. Discuss their ideas as a class.
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson now.
  • Were the students correct in their discussion of the difference between communicable and noncommunicable diseases? If not, fill in any missing information now.

Discussion Questions

  • Why are vaccines important in the prevention of communicable diseases?
  • What communicable diseases have been featured in recent media reports and why?

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