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Name That Disease
(from Lesson 3 - Health Concerns)

This is a game in which students learn what causes diseases, how they are transmitted, and what role solid waste disposal plays in allowing these diseases to spread.

Use of the book:
Teacher background on health concerns: p.62-64.
Teacher notes for activity: p.71-87.
Student background for activity: p.88-89.
Student instructions for activity: p.90-91.
Data recording/Analysis questions: p.92-93.

Materials Needed:
3 different colors of cardstock (can be laminated after photocopying), scissors, rubber bands

Make game cards in advance. Students work in pairs. Each student gets a key. Each pair gets one set of disease ID cards and one set of game cards. (Note: The book says to photocopy the game cards onto 2 different colors so each person in the group has his own set and two games are played simultaneously. I think it is better to play the game one side at a time, and use only one set of cards, then switch.)
· Disease ID cards: p.80-84.
· Game Cards: p.85-86.
· Disease Card Keys: p.87
p.90-91 back-to-back and laminated for directions
p.90-91 on overhead transparencies
p.92-93 back-to-back for participants
p.87 (one card only enlarged), 80, 85 on overhead transparencies

Opening Strategy: p.72
Have you ever had an illness or a disease? (Write down several on overhead transparency or poster pad on easel, asking how many others have had this) How were you treated? (Doctor, hospital, medication, stay home) How did the doctor know what you had? How did you catch this?

Teacher would discuss bacteria, viruses, infection, immunity, antibiotics at the appropriate level – p.76-79.


bottles in a dump
Courtesy of CDC

Procedure: p.90-91
1. You will work in pairs for this activity.
2. Read first paragraph of the procedure out loud to the class.
3. Give each student a disease card key. One student (A) gets a set of disease ID cards. He/she selects one and keeps it secret. The other student (B) gets a set of game cards. He/she spreads the cards out on the table.
4. Student B asks yes or no questions about:
the type of pathogen (virus, bacteria, other)
the type of vector (insect, mammal, food, water)
the type of symptoms (fever, nausea, chills, etc.)
the link to solid waste (dumps, hygiene, contamination)
to determine the disease student A has selected. Student A answers the questions.
5. Student B turns over cards that are eliminated each time.
6. Play until student B is ready to guess the disease. If he/she is incorrect, figure out a way to work backwards, or start again to determine error.
7. Fill out p.92-93 together.
8. Repeat by switching card sets.
9. Discuss.


  • Extension and Cross-Curricular Integration: p.73-75.
    • Show electron microscope photographs of viruses; use microscopes to view slides of bacteria.
    • Demonstrate exponential growth
  • Related Activity: You Can Catch Me, You Dirty Rat: p.65-70 – introduces the concept of vectors in disease transmission and shows students how easy it is to be exposed to a vector. Do as a demo in the afternoon session.
  • The Garbage Gazette: p.94-97.
    “ A Thousand Years Without A Bath” – hygiene
    “ Toxic Waste and You” – Love Canal

Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Room 244
PO Box 210207, Tucson, AZ, USA 85721-0207

Funded by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
Page Content: Stephanie Nardei
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