Lesson Plan

  • Grades 9-10,
  • Grades 11-12

Nature of an Epidemic


In this lesson students will explore key concepts in public health, such as the definitions of “epidemic” and “intervention” and criteria for national and international emergencies. Using the film Survivors,students will learn about the science of the Ebola virus, including the symptoms of the disease and how it is spread. Finally, the class will examine local, national and international responses to the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and neighboring countries, and what those responses revealed about strengths and gaps in global public health policy.

Through the eyes of Sierra Leonean filmmaker Arthur Pratt, Survivors presents an intimate portrait of Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak, exposing the complexity of the epidemic and the sociopolitical turmoil that lies in its wake. Survivorsreveals the bureaucratic missteps that took place during one of the most acute public health crises of the modern era, as well as remarkable stories of individual bravery and the deep humanity of those caught in the middle of this unfolding crisis.

Note to Teachers:The film clips from Survivorsportray very sick and dying patients, as well as people grieving for loved ones killed by the disease. This content may be upsetting to some students.

POV offers a lending library of DVDs that you can borrow anytime during the school year—FOR FREE! Get started by joining the POV Community Network. Survivorsis a co-production of American Documentary | POV and ITVS.