Polio Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kandi Young

Kandi has degrees in Communications, Human Services, Education and Computer Science. She is a Business, Marketing, and Technology instructor with a Master's degree in Education.

This lesson focuses on examining the causes, symptoms and treatments of polio. Students will examine historical and current trends in cases of polio. The lesson provides several activities to engage all learning styles.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Explain the history of poliomyelitis
  • Identify symptoms and treatments of polio
  • Understand how polio spreads

Length of Lesson

1-2 hours



Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


  • Poliomyelitis
  • Paralysis
  • Poliovirus
  • Horizontal Transmission Route
  • Central Nervous System
  • Polioencephalitis
  • Motor Neurons
  • Muscle Atrophy
  • Meningitis


  • Begin class with a prompt question for a group discussion, such as:
    • Can you name any famous people that have or had polio?
  • Guide the class toward a discussion of Franklin Roosevelt if necessary. Potential prompts could include:
    • Did you know Franklin Roosevelt had polio?
    • He kept it a secret. Can you guess why he would do this?
    • What symptoms did Roosevelt have from the disease?
  • Explain that many people may have polio, but never show the symptoms, while others like Roosevelt become paralyzed.
  • Pass out the Polio: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments worksheet.
  • Ask students to complete the worksheet as they watch the Polio: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments video.
  • Have students share their answers to the worksheet at the end of the video and discuss the following points:
    • What are the symptoms of polio?
    • How is polio spread?
    • Who developed a vaccine for polio?
    • If there is a vaccine, why does polio still exist?
    • Is there a cure for those with polio?
    • Why do so many people not show symptoms of polio?

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