WebQuest: Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease in GhanaPrint this Page
- Subject(s): Social Studies & Geography, Environment & Health, Science
- Region / Country: Africa / Republic of Ghana
- Grade Level(s): 6–8, 9–12
- Related Publication: Podcast and Photo Gallery: Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease in Ghana-Interview
- Duration: 2-3 class periods
Students engage in a WebQuest, gathering information about the causes and effects of Guinea worm disease, a waterborne illness affecting several countries in Africa. A central source of information is a podcast featuring Peace Corps Volunteer Peter DiCampo, who served as a Health, Water, and Sanitation Volunteer in Ghana. Students take the roles of Peace Corps Volunteers, applying their knowledge of the Guinea worm life cycle to create a plan for eradicating the disease. They create public service announcements (PSAs) for radio broadcast to communicate their plans. Finally, students evaluate their solutions and compare them to actual strategies that have proven effective in combating the disease.
Once prevalent in parts of Africa and Asia, Guinea worm disease is now almost completely eliminated as a result of successful eradication efforts. The Guinea worm example illustrates how an understanding of life cycles can be critical for eliminating preventable diseases and improving public health.
Guinea Worm Disease
- The Carter Center - Guinea Worm Eradication Program
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—Dracunculiasis
- World Health Organization—Guinea Worm Disease
More about Ghana
- Background on Guinea Worm Disease
- Guinea Worm Life Cycle
- Preparing Your Action Plan
- Evaluation Rubric
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of the guinea worm life cycle
- Students will apply knowledge toward a solution to a real-world public health issue
- Students will assess the impacts of preventable diseases in developing countries and consider the role of the U.S. and health organizations in providing aid
- Endemic: Present in a certain area
- Eradicate: Eliminate completely
- Larvae: Immature stage of an organism
- Parasite: Organism that lives on or in the body of another organism
- Contaminated Water: Water that is not pure or is unsafe to drink
- Internet access
- Computer access for the WebQuest
- Audio recorder (optional)
1. Introduce students to the idea of a WebQuest (see Background Information ). Explain that they will complete a WebQuest, taking the role of Peace Corps Volunteers who are working to solve a real-world problem. If students are unfamiliar with Peace Corps, share some background information from www.peacecorps.gov
2. In the computer lab, students may work individually or in pairs. Student will need headphones to listen to the audio and video portions of the WebQuest. Open the WebQuest and explain that students will be collecting information about a waterborne illness affecting several African countries. The illness is caused by a parasite called Guinea worm. After students learn about causes and effects of Guinea worm disease, they will work to develop a plan for reducing it in a community in Ghana. To communicate their plans with the community, they will create public service announcements (PSAs) for radio broadcast.
3. Distribute the worksheets Background on Guinea Worm Disease and Guinea Worm Life Cycle to each student. Allow time for students to work through the Introduction, Task and Process (Steps 1-4 only) sections of the WebQuest on their own. Provide guidance to students as needed.
4. After students have completed Guinea worm life cycle diagrams, discuss students' reactions and questions related to the problem of Guinea worm disease.
5. Distribute the worksheet Preparing Your Action Plan. Return to complete the Process (Steps 5 and 6) section of the WebQuest. After students have developed a plan of action (Step 5) and a public service announcement (Step 6) for communicating their plans, allow time for students to share their proposed solutions.
6. Distribute the evaluation rubric. Return to the WebQuest and have students complete the Evaluation and Conclusion sections. After students have evaluated their work, discuss the reflection questions in the Conclusion section as a large group.
- Analyze data from the Carter Center. Graphically represent the number of cases of Guinea worm disease over time (globally, or for a certain country/region). Choose one country and investigate the history of Guinea worm disease in that particular place.
- Listen to the full interview podcast with Peter DiCampo. Based on Peter's comments, discuss the political, economic, and social factors (e.g. political conflicts, mobility of groups of people, cultural beliefs) that can influence the prevalence of Guinea worm disease.
- View and discuss Peter DiCampo's photo album documenting Guinea worm disease in his community in Ghana. Which photographs do you think best illustrate the problems and solutions associated with the disease?
- Listen to actual PSAs about Guinea worm disease in various languages. In what ways were the messages similar and different to the ones students created?
- Try your hand at addressing health issues in the fictional community of Wanzuzu through the Peace Corps Challenge online game. The Malaria Challenge and the Sanitation and Disease Challenge both address relevant themes.
Framework and Standards
- Access to clean water is essential for human health
- Knowledge about the biology of disease-causing organisms is useful for reducing their negative impacts
- Many diseases are preventable
- How do diseases affect communities?
- How can scientific knowledge be shared with the public in order to improve community health?
- Why do preventable diseases still occur and what can be done to reduce them?
- Content Standard C: Life Science
- Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
- Thematic Strand III : People, Places, and Environments
- Thematic Strand VIII: Science, Technology, and Society
- Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections
- Essential Element I: The World in Spatial Terms
- Essential Element II: Places and Regions
- Essential Element V: Environment and Society
- Standard 4: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making