Health Module Teacher Instructions

Lesson Overview

This module was created to accompany "Understanding the Changing Planet" Chapter 6: How Does Where People Live Affect Their Health? Through the use of interactive maps and pdf files, students will learn what role geography has to play in understanding disease spread across the globe, the importance of access to health care, and the treatment and prevention of illness for all people.

Estimated Time

This activity should take a total of 120 minutes for your students to complete. You can separate these activities into 40-minute segments, choose one of the two activities for a 15- or 20-minute experience, or you can assign the activities for homework. Your students will be able to freely obtain all tools necessary to complete these activities independently should you so choose for them to complete these on their own.


  • Photocopy one copy of student answer sheet for each student to hand in or
  • Have the students use the interactive pdf and email you their answers on the pdf
  • Computer with internet connection
  • Understanding the Changing Planet online website--Module 6: Health

    Student Answer Sheet


The student will be able to:

  • Use maps to interpret and analyze data
  • Analyze patterns of disease and suggest alternate solutions

Teacher Notes

Lesson Introduction

Have students read the "How does where you live affect your health?" section to provide them with some background knowledge of human health issues in the 21st century. Encourage students to read the examples in parentheses for each bullet point if they are not familiar with the bulleted vocabulary words.

How does where you live affect your health?

"Much has been learned in the past about geographical influences on health through mapping the spread of diseases, access to care, and the treatment and prevention of illness. Coming more fully to terms with the impacts of location on human health, however, requires documenting, modeling, and predicting human health outcomes at individual- to population-level scales, while accounting for:

  • Human mobility (e.g., daily, weekly, seasonal, life course)
  • Socioeconomic circumstance (e.g., income status, age, education, gender)
  • Behavioral risk factors (e.g., smoking, drinking, drugs, diet)
  • Changing environment (e.g., climate change, industrial development, urban expansion)
  • Time course of disease (e.g., cancer latency, induction period)
  • Genetics (e.g., determinants of predisposition to disease).

Addressing some of the major health challenges of the 21st century requires developing increasingly sophisticated theories, methods, visualizations, and tools that can help account for the intersecting impacts of these six variables in different locations (UCP, 67)."

Students will hypothesize how data and maps might help us to understand human health issues, writing their answers on their Student Answer Sheet (on paper or digitally).

        Student Answer Sheet KEY

Instruct students that they will be investigating two case studies of actual health issues that have occurred both in the distant past and in the current day. Tell them to continue filling out their answer sheets with their thoughts and conclusions and that they will be "collected" at the conclusion of the exercise.


In Geographic Investigation Activity 1 of the Health Module, there are two preliminary investigations that take place in the Philippines in 2004 and in England in 1854. These two investigations set the scene for the students and should take approximately twenty minutes each. 



Credits and References

  • All data and maps in this lesson are to be used for educational purposes only. It is not to be used for research purposes.


    Thank you to Renato L. Cerdeña, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Geography Section, Social Sciences Dept., Ferris State University, 820 Campus Drive ASC 2108, Big Rapids, MI 49307-2225, USA for his generous provision of the data used in this lesson.


    This data was aggregated from:

    Johnson, Steven. The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, Riverhead Books, 2006 (30-31)
    UCLA Department of Epidemiology website. Referred to March 18, 2011

    This data was aggregated from the Esri ArcGIS Online website.

    Authors: B. Duke, A. Palmer & R. Palmer

  • National Institutes of Health Report. 2011. Future directions in health.

Author info

This activity module was developed by....

Share This Resource