Grades 11-12: Learning From Disaster—Exploring the Ebola Epidemic


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College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading     

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1:  Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2:  Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3:  Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


This Grades 11-12  ELA/Literacy lesson plan titled “Learning From Disaster: Exploring the Ebola Epidemic” is from The Learning Network at the New York Times.  This is the first of two separate lessons on the Ebola epidemic.  The lesson described here covers the ongoing outbreak in West Africa. The estimated instructional time is one to two class periods.  The lesson plan includes optional stand-alone activities, extension research opportunities, and authentic assessments. Throughout instruction, students use video clips as well as selected primary and secondary source materials to explore the issue.  The culminating assessment asks students to respond to a related question in writing, using evidence from source materials.                                                                                                                                                                             Click here to access a separate lesson about preventing the spread of Ebola in the United States.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that the activities as described would be most appropriate in Grades 11-12 due to the mature content of some of the student materials used, sites listed, and performance expectations.  Teachers should preview the videos before using to make sure they are appropriate for their students. The plan as written does not include aligned rubrics or assessment guidelines to provide sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance. To meet the varied needs of students, supports and modifications may be needed. Discrete writing and language skill instruction may also be necessary if the extension activities are added.



This lesson plan is a good example of how to cultivate interest and engagement in reading, writing, and speaking by involving students in the study of a scientific, geopolitical issue.  Students are routinely expected to draw evidence from a variety of sources to develop a point of view. The suggested extension activities provide authentic learning, application of literacy skills, student-directed inquiry, analysis, evaluation, and/or reflection. Technology and media are used to deepen learning and draw attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.  All materials needed for the lesson as described are included.