Ebola: Disease Detectives
This hands-on activity allows students to analyze DNA sequences of Ebola viruses. Students use these sequences to track the virus’s spread during the 2013–2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
After watching a related video, students sort strips of paper showing sequences from Ebola viruses isolated from infected patients from Sierra Leone. Students sort these sequences into groups based on similarities. Based on the groupings, students make claims about the evolution and transmission history of the virus. Students then compare their results to those of scientists who followed a similar procedure at the beginning of the outbreak. As an extension, students may analyze a Click & Learn about viruses that shows a 3-dimensional model and cross section of the Ebola virus.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret sequence data to explain how viruses evolve over time during an outbreak.
- Develop visual representations of findings and conclusions.
adaptation, DNA sequence, evolution, mutation, outbreak, public health, virus
Gire, S. K., A. Goba, K.G. Andersen, R.S. Sealfon, D.J. Park, L. Kanneh, S. Jalloh, et al. “Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak.” Science 345, 6202 (2014): 1369–1372. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1259657.
HS-LS3-2; SEP2, SEP4, SEP6
EVO-1.C, EVO-1.O, IST-1.A, IST-1.L, IST-1.O, IST-4.A, IST-4.B, SYI-3.D; SP2, SP3, SP4
CC3, CC5; DP1, DP3, DP6