Pandemic: Causes, Cures, and Responses is a 94-page unit study that explores the history and science of worldwide disease. It’s offered by Pandia Press with contributions by Lindsey Sodano, Samantha Matalone Cook, Amy Sharony, and Blair Lee. It includes lessons and activities for ages five to adult!
Best of all? It’s totally FREE!
Let’s go ahead and chat about it, shall we?
The History of Pandemics
This unit study goes over the history of various pandemics, from the bubonic plague to the Spanish Flu of 1918 to COVID-19. It begins with some fascinating information about the bubonic plague and the push it caused to understand medical science better. This guide uses an excerpt from the upcoming History Quest: Middle Ages history curriculum from Lindsey Sodano and Pandia Press. See our History Quest: Early Times review here.
Part of this unit study also discusses the differences and similarities between COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu, including actionable journaling, prompts, and a chart for comparing and contrasting the two pandemics.
Making a Plague Mask
The Make a Simple Plague Mask activity by Samantha Matolone Cook includes historical information, full-photo directions, and templates to ease the process. Since we can’t go trick-or-treating this year, my kids and I might go ahead and makes some of these masks to wear while we lounge around the house and eat candy on Halloween. We might even take some photos to add to our pandemic journal.
Creating a Pandemic Journal
This guide helps you plan and document what this crazy year of 2020 looks like to you. An activity like this would go along really well with this New York Times prompt for teens – all about documenting 2020 and perhaps even sending it to a museum!
The Science of Pandemics
The second part of the Pandemic Unity Study is all about science! There’s a hoard of activities that teach how infections work, how they spread, and how to possibly prevent their spread. It’s offered as a more general foundational education in germs, disease, viruses, bacteria, illness, and prevention.
The science units in the guide are titled:
Are the Viruses Alive? (Ages 8+)
This unit discusses the characteristics of life and helps students weigh the facts and come to a conclusion in the great debate of whether viruses count as living organisms!
Polio (Ages 10+)
This is a guided research activity for kids to conduct. A great hands-on project for older kids. I think I’m going to have my 10-year-old share her research in a video journal for our monthly homeschooling progress.
Bacteria–Good and Bad (Ages 10+)
What is the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria? What are bad bacteria called? By what systems are bacteria classified?
The Good Guys (Ages 10+)
This activity is a two-day microscope lab studying “good” bacteria.
Death to the Prokaryotes (Ages 10+)
In this lab, your students will learn about food sterilization and storage and why certain processes are necessary to ensure food safety. You’ll be canning a couple of jars of applesauce and recording the results. I, personally, think we’re going to take this to the next level and jar many cans, each with a different “missing” step in the correct canning process so that we can see the horrific results that ensue. #maniacallaughter
Discovering Cells (Ages 10+)
This is another microscope lab (SQUEEE) that, in a way, recreates Robert Hooke’s 1665 experiment!
The Warrior Systems (Ages 10+)
Ready to learn about the lymphatic system? Wait, what is that? This unit is a great introduction to how that whole system works and includes visuals and a “color and label” activity to enhance the learning process.
Bacteria Out of Control (Ages 10+)
Asexual reproduction, binary fission, and a charting activity, oh my!
Protecting Yourself From Pathogens (Ages 10+)
An informative article by Blair Lee about germ theory, antibiotics, and prevention.
How Dirty Can They Really Be (5+)
Young kids don’t seem to be able to grasp just how gross their hands can get throughout the day. Have you seen the nasty bread experiment that’s been floating around Facebook and Pinterest? Well, here’s a rundown of how to conduct this yourself.
Winning the War on Pathogens (5+)
There is a right way and a million wrong ways to wash your hands. This activity teaches the best hand-washing practice.
A Winning Weapon: Hand Sanitizer! (5+)
Wanna learn how to make your own hand sanitizer? Here ya go.
Alexander Fleming: Infection, Antibiotics, and War (Agest 10+)
What has been one of the most life-saving inventions ever? Antibiotics! Here’s a research project about Alexander Fleming.
Smallpox (Ages 10+)
This unit is about smallpox, which is a viral disease with an interesting history. It’s one that we eradicated!
Materials that are needed for this unit study include basic kitchen items as well as simple arts and crafts objects you might already have around the house. The most specialized supplies you’ll need are a microscope and slides for the microscope labs.