Event-Based Science

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What is Event-Based Science?

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Event-Based Science meets National Science Education Standards!



Event-Based Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews, photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a desire to know more about those topics.

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virus bacteria fungus immunity TB flu AIDS

Outbreak!Outbreak! is an Event-Based Science module about disease. It uses the outbreak of the Ebola virus that struck Kikwit, Zaire (now called Republic of Congo) in 1995,  to establish the context for exploring related concepts.

The task in Outbreak! brings the study of diseases much closer to home. It turns students into concerned citizens of a small U.S. town that is being struck by a fatal respiratory disease. Students track patients, examine lab reports, and put together the pieces of a real-world puzzle to find the cause of the disease and recommend ways to prevent its spread.

The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse Recommends Outbreak!

Ebola toll rises in 'unprecedented' outbreak 
4/01/2014 CNN Health

Correction Alert

There is a problem with the Discovery File about Tuberculosis on page 21 of the Student Edition. All people listed in the TG on page 5 do have TB. The Outbreak! task is based on a true case history with only the names and location changed. The discovery file should say that it takes a positive x-ray or a positive sputum test to confirm the diagnosis of TB. The sputum test is more sensitive. It picks up positives that are missed by the x-ray, but it takes longer. Note that the positives picked up by the x-ray have not been tested further.

(Since a positive skin test means nothing, it wasn't even conducted for most patients.)

Thanks to Tara Evans, 7th grade teacher at Rocky Hill Middle School, Clarksville, MD for catching this error.

Outbreak! Resources

A "pdf" file containing web sites, books, material lists, and correlations with National Science Education Standards.
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EBS Breaking News 
Click here to use Google News to search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources for breaking news about respiratory diseases and Ebola.


At the 2004 NSTA Eastern Regional Convention in Richmond, a teacher who uses Outbreak! every year described a problem. She told us that because she teaches in a small community the younger brothers and sisters of former students come to her excited about the Outbreak! unit, but they already know who brought the disease into the community.

In response to this single request, we have created a complete new set of Patient Profiles and Lab Reports for you to use.

To get your copy of each in PDF format please click here:

Patient Profiles
Descriptions of 15 patients and their symptoms.

Lab Reports
Sequential Lab Reports for use in diagnosing the disease that strikes your community. 

If you use these new profiles and reports and would like to know which new patient brings the disease into the community. Please email us at webmaster@ebsinstitute.com . Send us your name and the name of your school. Use a school-based email account.  We do not want to give the answer to students.

As with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need is provided in the pages of Outbreak!. However, more information is needed. Specific information about disease and disease-causing organisms is available at the World-Wide Web sites below. Click on the highlighted words and be linked with sites where this helpful information can be found.

Links to Outbreak! related WEB Sites
(Links are checked monthly. They were working on the day of the last update.)

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
  • MEDLINEplus is a goldmine of good health information from the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine.
  • MRSA is the antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria that is now killing more Americans each year than AIDS — 100,000 infections leading to 19,000 deaths in 2005, according to estimates in The Journal of the American Medical Association. This article explains how our food supply may be the cause of MRSA!
  • Monkeypox Monkeypox is an emerging viral disease in North America. Basic information about Monkeypox from the CDC is available at this site.
  • SARS This link takes you to the latest search results about SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • Smallpox A CDC site with all of the latest information about smallpox.
  • CDC West Nile Virus Home Page  Using 2000 and 2001 West Nile Virus data that were provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the National Atlas created great map products.
  • Ebola Information A CDC site with all of the latest information about the Ebola virus.
  • Traveler's Health Health information on different travel destinations. What to know before you go.
  • American Lung Association Home Page From their main page, you can find information on lung cancer, tuberculosis, emphysema and A1AD related emphysema, pneumonia, sarcoidosis, HIV/AIDS and lung disease, and influenza.

Ebola Virus

Electron Micrograph of the Ebola Virus

  • PARASITIC WORMS This CDC SITE contains everything you ever wanted to know about parasitic worms.
  • Johns Hopkins: ABX Guide The Antibiotic Guide is a "decision support tool" intended to provide doctors with information about the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. The information is arranged so that it is useful at the point of care, instantly. Although this site is for doctors it can be helpful to the "physician" on your task teams too. Free registration is required.
  • CancerHelp UK: Lung Cancer On-Line Service Links to sites with information about lung cancer.
  • Changing the face of Medicine Discover the many ways that women have influenced and enhanced the practice of medicine. The individuals featured on this National Library of Medicine site provide a glimpse of the community of women doctors who are making a difference.
  •  Video - Movie Trailer for Outbreak


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