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Viruses: Teachers

Virus Essentials


Review the basics of viruses: what they are, how they work, and how they infect a host.

The Big Picture Book of Viruses is intended to serve as both an online catalog of virus pictures and as an educational resource to those seeking more information about viruses.

The Microbiology Society presents an overview of viruses, information on specific viral diseases, and some amazing images.

Visit Biology4Kids to learn about different kinds of microbes in more detail, including viruses, the smallest of the small.

Resources from PBS Learning Media

Virus Information and Protection is a collection of interactives, videos, discussion questions and media clips for grades K-5 and 6-12. Teacher support materials are included.

How Far Do Coughs and Sneezes Travel? You may be surprised! See research results in this clip from NOVA.

Influenza 1918, a film from the PBS series American Experience, includes articles, a timeline, and a Teacher's Guide. Secrets of the Dead: Killer Flu takes the science further, exploring the origins and evolution of the influenza virus and the quest for an effective vaccine.

Why Vaccines Work explains the history and science of vaccines.

Spillover: Zika, Ebola, and Beyond is a fascinating collection exploring viral diseases that "spill over" from animals to humans. It begins with "What Are Viruses?" and moves through origins, transmission, epidemic, and contact tracing. For middle school and up.

COVID-19: Several resources, with accompanying teacher support materials, are designed to help you explain the coronavirus pandemic.

Lesson Plans and More

Sick Moose

Meet the Germs, a standards-aligned complete lesson plan for grades 3-5, investigates the difference between viruses and bacteria.

Germs and The Body is an upper-elementary lesson designed to illustrate where germs exist, how they can get into and affect the body, and how the body defends itself against them.

Arizona State University has some great classrooms resources for upper-elementary teachers. Let the Germs Begin and Puzzling Pathogens are engaging, student-friendly pages and the accompanying teacher's guide has a complete lesson plan, experiments, and slideshows.

At the same ASU site, check out Viruses and Viral Attack, a comic book story on the immune system. The accompanying teacher's guide has suggestions for using Viral Attack in the classroom.

Kids Health has teachers' guides with lessons and activities to help students learn about the viral transmission of colds and flu. Check out the guides for grades K-2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-8.

E-Bug offers lesson packs for primary students (Microbe Mania, Horrid Hands, and Super Sneezes) and for intermediate students (Microbes, Spread of Infection, and Immunity/Vaccines).

Baylor University's K8 Science Resources offers 12 lessons for middle school students on all kinds of microbes, including a lesson on microbe-caused illness and an infectious disease case study where students assume the scientist's role.

Solve The Outbreak: In this epidemiology lesson, middle school students participate in simulations to model the spread of viral diseases in a population.

What's Really Bugging You? is a middle-school lesson that explores how viruses can infect the human body and compromise the immune system. Includes a laboratory activity illustrating the spread of a viral disease.

Outbreak! Investigating Epidemics and Pathogens and our Defenses are hands-on lesson plans for grades 5 and up from the American Society for Microbiology.

Educator Resources

The Amoeba Sisters explain scientific concepts in a fun, entertaining way. Check out their animated videos on viruses and the immune system. For grades 5 and up.

The Exploratorium has a collection of engaging, hands-on classroom activities to help students learn about viruses. Included are: "What Does A Vaccine Do?" "How Does Soap Inactivate Viruses?" "How Do Viruses Reproduce?" and many more.

LiveScience has a colorful, kid-friendly COVID-19 infographic on COVID-19 for you to share your students. Also, check out the Ultimate Kids Guide to the Coronavirus.

News of the coronavirus epidemic has many applications to math and literacy, as well as science. See how some middle school teachers have developed lessons for their classes.


How Lou Got the Flu from the American Museum of Natural History is a fun, visual explanation of how a virus can travel all around the world to infect someone in your own neighborhood.

What are viruses? This simple video for grades 3-4 is designed to help students understand what they are, how they spread, and how vaccines work to fight them.

Viruses: The Smallest Microbe On Earth includes facts, infographics, and an animation of a talking virus.

BAM! Body and Mind is a CDC site with classroom resources for teachers. The "Ask a Scientist" comic series offers two engaging volumes: How Do People Become Infected with Germs? And How Does My Body Fight Disease?

Find handy, easily understood definitions for virus vocabulary.

How long can a virus hang around on a doorknob? Find out at Germy Surfaces from ScienceNet.

How are bacteria different from viruses? Grow your own bacteria in this classroom experiment from Science Kids.

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