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Lesson Plans

Coronavirus student guide: Virus explainer and news updates

February 27, 2020

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Courtesy of BrainPOP

Directions: Watch the Brainpop video on the coronavirus and use the discussion questions to talk about the outbreak with your students. Then check the latest news on the virus via the PBS NewsHour. For additional resources, take a look at Coronavirus: Multilingual Resources for Schools from Colorín Colorado, an ELL website based at PBS station WETA.

Discussion questions:

  1. Essential question: Why is it important to get the facts and ask questions about the coronavirus?
  2. What do you know about the coronavirus?
  3. What are organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC doing to help address the coronavirus? What are some of the challenges related to studying and preventing the spread of infectious diseases?
  4. In general, what are some health and hygiene practices you should use in order to help prevent the spread of germs?
  5. Media literacy: Why is it sometimes a good idea to limit the amount of news you watch on issues like the coronavirus? If you’re feeling worried about the virus, who could you talk with at home and in school? How are science-based websites like the World Health Organization, STAT news and Science News different from general news websites?

News update:

Responding to criticism that the government is not doing enough to protect Americans against the coronavirus, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the federal government is mobilizing in case the illness spreads widely within the U.S. He appointed Vice President Pence to oversee the response.

Health officials worldwide are concerned about incidents of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus, although it continues to have a relatively low death rate. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said the U.S. should prepare for the coronavirus to become a more widespread health issue.

Watch the video (if time is short, stop at 3m:50s) and check out the stories below to hear the latest updates on the novel coronavirus. You can turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here.

New stories

U.S. reports worrisome new virus case in California after Trump urges calm Associated Press

Trump defends handling of virus while Democrats seek $8.5 billion Associated Press

How novel coronavirus could affect the global economy by Gretchen Frazee, PBS NewsHour

Track the spread of novel coronavirus with this map by Laura Sanatham, PBS NewsHour


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Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.

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