COVID-19 Resources

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Let's Talk Science

COVID-19 learning resources and suggestions for discussing with students.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a new type of coronavirus. The disease affects the respiratory system in humans. It can lead to coughing, shortness of breath, respiratory distress and even death. The COVID-2019 pandemic began in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. It quickly spread to North America and other parts of the world.

Did you know?

A disease is considered to be pandemic when it spreads across the world and affects a large number of people.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 and what you can do to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic, we recommend the Health Canada and World Health Organization websites.

Visit our Biology video channel for some of the latest stories on the fight against COVID-19 and how it is affecting our lives and society. Be sure to check out the Credibility Meter at the bottom of each video. It helps you assess how trustworthy and accurate a news story is.

Here are some Let’s Talk Science resources to help you learn more about viruses and how humans combat them:

Medical supplies and Canada flag

Creating a Vaccine for COVID-19 in Canada

Learn how vaccines are developed, how they work and how some scientists in Canada are researching vaccines for COVID-19.
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Creating a Vaccine for COVID-19 in Canada

Icon showing a syringe on a shield

Herd Immunity: How Vaccines Protect the Most Vulnerable

What is herd immunity and how does it protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities?
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Herd Immunity: How Vaccines Protect the Most Vulnerable

Social distancing in the park

Design & Build a Wearable Social Distancing Device

Students will design and build a wearable prototype that would help to enforce the 2 m social distancing recommendation during the school day.
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Design & Build a Wearable Social Distancing Device

Infant receiving a vaccination

Immunity and Vaccination

Learn about the history of vaccines and how vaccines trigger an immune response that keep us from getting some dangerous diseases.
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Immunity and Vaccination

Image © TLFurrer, iStockPhoto.com

Are Microbes Your Friend or Foe?

Microbes are everywhere, even in your digestive tract. Some of these microbes are helpful, and some aren’t.
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Are Microbes Your Friend or Foe?

Yellow fever virus

Where Did Viruses Come From?

Viruses are not living things - so where did they come from? Scientists have proposed three different hypotheses.
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Where Did Viruses Come From?

An artist’s rendition of a bacteriophage

Phages vs. Antibiotics

Many doctors prescribe antibiotics to cure infections. But should they be prescribing viruses instead?
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Phages vs. Antibiotics

Coronavirus

Introduction to Viruses

Learn about the basics of viruses in this backgrounder.
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Introduction to Viruses

Bottle of Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine

Measles and Measles Prevention

Learn about the measles virus, its impact and vaccination for prevention of the disease.
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Measles and Measles Prevention

man sick with the flu

The Surprising Reason You Feel Awful When You're Sick

Viruses can make you feel awful! This article explains how feeling bad might be your immune system’s way of helping you heal.
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The Surprising Reason You Feel Awful When You're Sick

People with cancer and their caregivers

Why Do So Many People Get Cancer?

We all know someone who has been affected by cancer. What causes cancer? Why is it getting more common?
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Why Do So Many People Get Cancer?

 

 

Career Profiles

Jennifer Gardy

Jennifer Gardy

Meet Jennifer Gardy, former senior scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.

Jessica Lam

Jessica Lam

Meet Jessica Lam, Lab Manager (Infectious Disease Research) at the University of Toronto.

Patrick Bate Ayuk

Patrick Bate Ayuk

Meet Patrick Bate Ayuk, Medical Laboratory Technician at the University Health Network – Michener Institute.

You can also search our resource database using terms such as viruses, microbiology, or public health, or use our curriculum search to find resources that directly address curriculum outcomes.

Starting Points

Connecting and Relating

  • How has your daily life been affected by COVID-19? What are you not doing that you used to do? What are you doing more of than you used to?
  • Are you worried about you, your family members, or friends getting COVID-19? Why or why not?
  • What are you doing or not doing to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19?

Connecting and Relating

  • How has your daily life been affected by COVID-19? What are you not doing that you used to do? What are you doing more of than you used to?
  • Are you worried about you, your family members, or friends getting COVID-19? Why or why not?
  • What are you doing or not doing to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19?

Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment

  • What factors (social, cultural, environmental, etc.) are contributing to the spread and severity of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the environment? 
  • How are industries not in the health care sector stepping up to help manufacture health equipment?

Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment

  • What factors (social, cultural, environmental, etc.) are contributing to the spread and severity of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the environment? 
  • How are industries not in the health care sector stepping up to help manufacture health equipment?

Exploring Concepts

  • What does a coronavirus look like? Check out the Viruses backgrounder for more information.
  • How is COVID-19 spread? What steps can be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19?
  • What are the effects of COVID-19 on humans? Who is most at risk from the virus?

Exploring Concepts

  • What does a coronavirus look like? Check out the Viruses backgrounder for more information.
  • How is COVID-19 spread? What steps can be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19?
  • What are the effects of COVID-19 on humans? Who is most at risk from the virus?

Nature of Science/Nature of Technology

  • What steps are involved in developing a vaccine and making it widely accessible? How long does this usually take? Check out the Measles and Measles Prevention article for more about vaccines.
  • Why can it take so much time for scientific discoveries like new vaccines to get into doctors’ hands to be used on patients? Do you think that this process should be accelerated for COVID-19, even if there are risks? 
  • Should resources be switched from developing cures for other diseases such as cancer to develop a vaccine for COVID-19? Why or why not?

Nature of Science/Nature of Technology

  • What steps are involved in developing a vaccine and making it widely accessible? How long does this usually take? Check out the Measles and Measles Prevention article for more about vaccines.
  • Why can it take so much time for scientific discoveries like new vaccines to get into doctors’ hands to be used on patients? Do you think that this process should be accelerated for COVID-19, even if there are risks? 
  • Should resources be switched from developing cures for other diseases such as cancer to develop a vaccine for COVID-19? Why or why not?

Media Literacy

  • Do the media have a responsibility to ensure their coverage of infectious disease outbreaks does not create widespread fear and apprehension in the public? Explain.
  • How much news about COVID-19 do you get from traditional news outlets vs. from social media or friends? How do you know which information to trust?

Media Literacy

  • Do the media have a responsibility to ensure their coverage of infectious disease outbreaks does not create widespread fear and apprehension in the public? Explain.
  • How much news about COVID-19 do you get from traditional news outlets vs. from social media or friends? How do you know which information to trust?

Teaching Suggestions

  • Teachers could have students use the Concept Definition Web learning strategy to consolidate their understanding of a key concept, such as pandemics, viruses or vaccines. Ready-to-use Concept Definition Web reproducibles are available in [Google doc] and [PDF] formats. 
  • Using a Consequence Mapping learning strategy, teachers could have students consider the potential consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on our society, economy, and education systems over the next ten years. Download ready-to-use reproducibles using the Consequence Mapping learning strategy in [Google doc] and [PDF].

Teaching Suggestions

  • Teachers could have students use the Concept Definition Web learning strategy to consolidate their understanding of a key concept, such as pandemics, viruses or vaccines. Ready-to-use Concept Definition Web reproducibles are available in [Google doc] and [PDF] formats. 
  • Using a Consequence Mapping learning strategy, teachers could have students consider the potential consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on our society, economy, and education systems over the next ten years. Download ready-to-use reproducibles using the Consequence Mapping learning strategy in [Google doc] and [PDF].

Learn more

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