Influenza Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson will help your students understand the influenza virus. Students will read a text lesson, participate in group activities, and prove their knowledge with a short quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the influenza pandemic of 1918
  • explain how the virus is spread
  • compare and contrast different types of influenza
  • identify the challenges to finding an effective vaccine


This lesson will take 45-90 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.


Use models (e.g., mathematical models, figures) based on empirical evidence to identify patterns of health and disease in order to characterize a public health problem.


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.

Materials Needed

  • News articles about the flu vaccine


  • epidemic
  • glycoproteins
  • host
  • pandemic
  • parasitic
  • ribonuclear proteins
  • vaccine
  • virus


Divide students into small groups. Have groups create a concept map that explains what they know about the flu. Give students the opportunity to share their discussions with the rest of the class.

Read the text lesson Influenza Virus: Structure and Function as a class. Pause after reading the 'Influenza Pandemic of 1918' section and 'The Perplexing Virus' section.

Have students turn and talk with a partner about why influenza has always been so challenging to treat.

Read the 'Types of Influenza' section with students.

Have students sketch a model of the influenza virus and label its parts.

Read the remainder of the lesson.

Divide students into small groups. Provide each group with several different articles about the flu vaccine. Have each student in each group read a different article and then teach the rest of their group about the article.

Each group will create an advantages and disadvantages list for getting vaccinated. Have each group share their work with the class and discuss.

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