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Say No to poor health

  • Key Stage 3
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Group discussion
Topic: Infectious disease

Poverty and poor health go together. But could the connection be broken? Bill Gates certainly thinks so and is funding the science that could make it happen. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has just awarded grants totalling £245 million to some of the world’s most inventive scientists. This is the culmination of the ‘Grand Challenges’ project launched in 2003. The major obstacles to good health have been identified and creative solutions planned. In this activity students are challenged to select the best five projects from a ‘shortlist’ of twelve. It follows on well from the Live8 concerts, G8 summit talks, and demonstrations in the UK to make poverty history.

Published: 6th July 2005
Reviews & Comments: 12

Learning objectives

Students should be able to assess the potential benefits of methods of reducing disease transmission and improving the immunity of those infected.

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

Microbes and Disease [QCA 8c]
• Name some of the diseases microbes can cause and describe how they can be transmitted.
• Describe some of the defenses the body has against disease and describe immunisation as a way of improving immunity.

Running the activity

Page 1 introduces the story. Bill Gates (of Microsoft) is giving �245 million to improve world health, particularly amongst those in developing countries still plagued by infectious diseases. The money will be used to turn original ideas into practical solutions for tackling the world's biggest health problems. Students need to identify factors that make the poorest communities more susceptible to disease, and choose the best project to tackle each cause.

On page 2, students read the story of Teresa who lives in a Ugandan village. It should help them identify five of the factors that spread disease or weaken people's defences. The infectious diseases covered include dengue fever, malaria, TB and HIV. Students could be prompted with questions such as:

• What makes Teresa more likely to catch dengue fever?
• Why did her parents get TB when they moved to town?
• Why might Sarah think she had HIV?
• Why are so few medicines available to treat tropical diseases?
• Is it helpful to know someone has a disease even if you can't cure them?

The downloadable version of the teacher's guide includes a list of suggestions. These can be given at the start if teachers don't want students to deduce them from the story.

Page 3 is a set of cards outlining the 12 projects short-listed for funding. As a first step, students could sort these to match the 5 factors they identified in the first part of the activity. Answers are given on the downloadable version of the teachers guide.

Finally, students need to pick out the best 5 projects to fund – one for each of the factors they identified.

Background Notes

The BILL & MELINDA GATES foundation awarded grants totalling $450m (�245m) on Monday June 27, 2005. The projects funded aimed to find solutions to the 14 greatest problems besetting human health. Most of the 14 fall into 1 of the 5 overall categories identified in this activity.

News links

The news story in the Guardian.
The news story on the BBC.
Grand Challenges
The Grand Challenge – follow the links for details of all of the 43 projects that got funding.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

Year 8 health 8C

Jun 1st, 2014

4 Star

Really engaging for my 8s, worked well with 9s also. Takes about 30 minutes realistically but the reporting back./general discussion prolonged it for an hour!

Reviewer: Joanna Hill

Very good.

Sep 15th, 2011

4 Star

Pupils enjoyed it tremednously. Set the scene in a brilliant way. The class were a high(ish) year 8 group (L6) who found the ideas provided interesting and useful for a wider project.

Thank you very much!

Reviewer: Will Murray-Smith


Mar 12th, 2008

5 Star

I used this activity for an interview. I was informed it was a low ability year8 class and that they were finishing the topic on microbes. this activity worked really well as I got the job.

The only problem was they didn't relate the projects with the Teres's story, they need to be reminded of why they are doing it.

Brilliant I will use it again.

Reviewer: Nancy Hales

Say No to poor health

Mar 21st, 2007

4 Star

I used this with my middle ability year 8 group on Red Nose Day as we were in the middle of Microbes & Disease. It promoted a lot of discussion and linked well with some of the projects shown in the evening TV event. A good link between what they do in the school science lab and what they see happening in the outside world.

Reviewer: Catherine Robson

Various topics

May 22nd, 2006

5 Star

THANK YOU Upd8....the actvities which I have downloaded and used have all been incredibly succesful with all of my classes from year 7 upto my year 11. The pupils are engaged and they love doing something different.....brilliant!!

Reviewer: Anna-Marie Jordan

say no to poor health

May 12th, 2006

5 Star

what a great way of getting the pupils to think about the issues of why people are more likely to be susceptible to disease - they loved having to make a decision about which projects to back. it was also very interesting to see their reaction to the fact that bill gates had given so much of his money away and the discussion that followed after, regarding whether or not they would give money away if they had that much!

Reviewer: debra johnson

Say No to poor health

Feb 1st, 2006

4 Star

I used this activity with a good y10 group to revisit ideas about disease and immunity. It provided a context to revise the work on vaccinnations, and made the work relevant.
Motivating and successful.

Reviewer: Kate Hazell

Say 'No' to poor health

Oct 5th, 2005

4 Star

I used this activity with a lower ability Single Modular Science GCSE group. We has already done some work on the spread of disease but this gave them the opportunity to evaluate evidence re living conditions and lifestyle. They were all engaged with the activity and could pick out the risk factors.It created discussion and I was very pleased with the outcomes they all felt they had achieved the lesson objective-Thank you.

Reviewer: Helen Seddon

Say No to Poor Health

Oct 2nd, 2005

4 Star

A great activity. Lookin at health issues in year 9 really gave the pupils a greater insight into the way we could help address poor health and indeed ade them realise how fortunate they were.

Reviewer: David Ford

say no to poor health

Sep 28th, 2005

5 Star

This activity worked wornders with my yr8 mixed ability group. It neatly summarised the main points about microbes and disease (8C) and managed to get the children to review their ideas about disease transmission.

As a strategy I gave the objective to the pupils which was asimplified version of the mentioned objective given in the resource. I then copied the first sheet introducing the project on an OHP.

Theresa's story was given to the children to read aloud and after breif discussion the five key factors were aggreed and left on the board.

The following sorting activity with the sheets (A-K listing the various proposals) also lead to good discussions about which proposal tackled the each factor. Note that this may pose very challenging for SEN pupils.

Almost all had something to say.

I have recommended this activity to my staff. THANKS FOR THIS RESOURCE :)

Reviewer: ash acharya

killer crabs and say no to poor health

Jul 21st, 2005

4 Star

I used the killer crab activity with my year 10 as a review lesson which I felt really helped be to find out whether they really got the whole food chain thing. It seems that some did and the others I was able to help in small groups so that they could all succeed. The students really engaged with the activity despite it being the last lesson of the year.

Later in the day I used the microbes activity with the year 8. This is a group of low achievers who have all worked their socks off this year. They all wrote very positive reviews about the activity and the TA was very impressed by the way they engaged with the text and how well the discussion developed during the plenary when the students explained their reasons for choosing their 5 projects.

The only problem was that some of the very poor readers found Theresa's story difficult to read due to the font, but we all managed and had fun!! Well done what a life saver at the end of the year. The rest of the department have all taken the web address and are busy planning, great!

Reviewer: allie denholm

Various topics

Jul 16th, 2005

5 Star

I have been using upd8 resources to plan ICT lessons in science for the last 6 weeks. A combination of the adobe acrobate files and the hyperlinks that you provide have enabled me to write a variey of lessons which are related to current or topical events, such as Hayfever, getting tanned, and water shortages. The pupils engage really well and your site has been a life saver for those of us trying to write "cover lessons!".

I managed to turn your acid rain adobe acrobat into a ppt file and the pupils could drag and drop the labels. Anything you can do to allow the pupils to work with the activity sheets would be appreciated.

I promise to write some individual review for different topics soon, but I just wanted to say thank you and how useful and engaging your resources are.

Reviewer: Theresa Phillips