The Zika virus is linked to brain damage in unborn babies and is spreading rapidly through South America. The World Health Organisation declared it an international emergency. Scientists are working on a vaccine and will soon want to test it on people. The Dilemma for students is: would you test a Zika vaccine? They review the science of cells and weigh up the risks and benefits by examining different sources (a revised version of our popular Ebola activity).
Cells: Make deductions about how medical treatments work based on cells, tissues, organs and systems (KS3 Science Syllabus)
Estimate risks: Weigh up the benefits and risks of an application of science to make a decision (KS3 Science Syllabus)
Try the activity
Add extra interest by showing students how their views compare with peers around the world.
1) Ask students to vote for or against the dilemma question at the end of the activity
2) Click the option closest to how they voted – see the KEY below.
KEY: 80-100% = 24+ students in a class of 30, 60-79% = 18-23 students, 40-60% = 12-17 students, 20-39% = 6-11 students, 0-19% = 0-5 students
Running the activity
Engage Invitation to trial the vaccine
Review Students use their knowledge of cells, tissues, organs and systems to deduce how the vaccine works
Consider Gathering information and weighing up risks and benefits
Decide Students write down what decision they made and how they made it
For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.
Zika virus: what you need to know
Scroll down to the video which can be used in the Engage section of the lesson to give the students more information about the virus.
When will we have a zika vaccine?
Article which contains further information about the development of possible vaccines against zika
Study shows Zika ‘might cause’ Guillain-Barré syndrome
News story from the BBC about the possible link between Zika and neurological condition GBS
Zika Virus: What We Know (And What We Don’t)
Video summarising background information on Zika for teachers and older students