Lesson Plan: Teaching Human Health and Climate Change

As a high school Biology / Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching about human health and diseases, vectors and vector-borne diseases such as malaria.

This lesson plan allows students to study the geographical distribution and spread of diseases. Further, students can explore how climate change could impact the spread of vector-borne diseases (specifically, malaria) and could consequently affect human health outcomes. The activity will also help students to identify policies for adapting to and mitigating the spread of diseases.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in the Biological Sciences.


Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:

  • 1. What are the major vector-borne diseases and their symptoms? What is the current geographical distribution of these diseases globally?
  • 2. Explain whether climate-related factors could influence the distribution and spread of vector-borne diseases.
  • 3. How could an increase in the average global temperature affect the geographical distribution of malaria?
  • 4. Recommend specific actions/policies that can help in mitigating the spread of vector-borne diseases caused by a rise in average global temperature, increase in sea-levels, and growth in population.

About Lesson Plan

Grade Level High School
Discipline Biological Sciences, Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline • Protozoa, Vectors, Vector-borne Diseases
• Malaria,  Climate Change and the Spread of Malaria
• Climate Change and Human Health
Climate Topic Climate and Health
Location Global, USA
Languages English
Access Online (some material can be downloaded for offline use)
Approximate Time Required 150-190 min



Reading (20 – 30 min) A reading that provides an overview of vectors and vector-borne diseases.
Go to the Reading
Video (~8 min) A video that explains the potential impact of climate change on disease vectors and the spread of diseases, and consequently, on human health outcomes.
Go to the Video
Classroom/ Laboratory activity (60 – 90 min) A classroom/laboratory activity to examine maps on malaria distribution, study temperature data, establish potential links between disease distribution and temperature, and predict the effect of climate change on disease distribution.
Go to the Activity
Game (computer-based) (~60 min) A computer-based game to help students understand the impact of climate on health, identify diseases, and choose actions or policies for adapting to and mitigating the spread of diseases.
Play the Game

Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.

1. Introduce the topic with the help of a reading
  • • The reading, “Vector-borne diseases”, is a fact sheet from the World Health Organization (WHO), and is available at: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/vector-borne-diseases
  • • With the help of the reading, “Vector-borne diseases”, introduce the topic of vector-borne diseases and the factors that influence their distribution and spread.
  • • Proceed to explain malaria (or another vector-borne disease) and its transmission.
  • • Discuss the environmental conditions that are conducive for the spread of malaria (or another vector-borne disease).
2. Play a video
3. Conduct a classroom/laboratory activity 
4. Facilitate a game-based activity
  • • Students can play the computer-based game “Climate Health Impact”, from Big Picture/Playgen, for an interactive experience.
  • • This game will enable students to understand the possible effects of climate change on human health in different regions of the world, to identify diseases from their symptoms, and to explore measures (specifically, policies) for adaptation and mitigation:
  • • Download the resources for teachers (including an introduction and a homework sheet) from https://bigpictureeducation.com/climate-health-impact-game
  • • Go to http://playgen.com/play/climate-health-impact/
  • • Conduct the game-based activity by using the guidelines in the “Teacher Notes”.
  • • Note: This game requires a Flash player; therefore, it may not play in some browsers. The game works in Firefox.


Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13

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