Will the next outbreak be a global pandemic? The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest in history, and killed more than 11,000 people. Even survivors are suffering long term health problems. Scientists have responded quickly with a number of possible vaccines. In this activity students are asked if they would volunteer to be part of the safety trial. They gather information from different sources, weigh up risks and benefits and apply what they know about genes to decide if it is a risk worth taking

 Learning objective

  • Weigh up risks and benefits and make a decision, using scientific knowledge of the function of genes.

    Blueprint curriculum link

    • Unit: Genetics
    • Concept: Genes: Inherited characteristics are the result of genetic information, in the form of sections of DNA called genes, being transferred from parents to offspring during reproduction
    • Skills: Decisions: Estimate the seriousness of the hazards of an experiment or technology
    • Learning stage: Analyse

    Activity contents

    • Teachers guide
    • PowerPoint file

    The activity is delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download it.


    Ebola teacher information

    Information about the Ebola vaccine and the trials.

    Progress towards the Ebola vaccine in 80 seconds

    Short video clip which can be used at the start of the lesson.

    Ebola vaccine volunteer video

    The first woman to receive the trial Ebola vaccine talks about why she volunteered and what the trial involves.

    Ebola virus: how it spreads and what it does to you

    Video with further information about Ebola

    Outbreak game

    A strategy-based computer game where students investigate infectious diseases in an attempt to stop them spreading.