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Lesson 3

The Evolution of Disease: Viruses, Bacteria, and Immunity

Students explore the relationship between pathogens and the body’s response, including drawing conclusions about why humans still get sick despite immune system defenses. Students conduct research to compare and contrast viral and bacterial diseases and explore some of the different tactics pathogens use to circumvent our immune systems, specifically focusing on antibiotic resistance and antigenic drift and shift. The lesson concludes with a writing assignment that ties together the concepts of disease, immunity, and the evolutionary “arms race” between pathogens and the human immune system.

Lesson Questions

  • What are the similarities and differences between diseases caused by bacteria and viruses?
  • What are two examples of ways disease-causing agents evolve?

Lesson Files