Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 5-12, students will use an online game to explore how 3 careers in science are interrelated. During game play, they will determine why a mysterious illness has spread and how to stop it. The role-playing allows students to discover how epidemiologists, microbiologists, and veterinarians work as a team to stop an infectious disease outbreak, root out its causes, and save the local population.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Apply science process skills by role-playing different careers in the "discovery to control" of a new disease.
  2. Describe how and why scientists collaborate in the identification, detection, and treatment of a disease.


  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP


This lesson plan uses an online science game from Rice University called MedMyst Animal Alert! Through game play, students encounter a mysterious disease that's suddenly infecting people and animals in a tropical region. They must determine why this illness has spread and how to stop it. While role-playing, students will discover how epidemiologists, microbiologists, and veterinarians work as a team to stop this infectious disease outbreak, root out its causes, and save the local population.

There are three game paths students can choose during game play: epidemiologist, microbiologist, and veterinarians. Rice University provides additional learning objectives for each of the three paths .

You can read the synopsis of each path to help you determine how to use the game to support student learning. However, we do NOT recommend providing the synopses to students, as the game is more enjoyable and beneficial when students discover the information themselves as they play.

Before introducing the game to students, we recommend previewing the vocabulary lists. You may also want to download mission logs to help students think about their learning during game play.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Viruses or Vaccines movie for students to activate their prior knowledge.
  2. Talk with students about different roles that scientists play in solving problems such as treating outbreaks of viruses. How do they collaborate and work together?
  3. Explain that students will get to take on the role of a epidemiologist, microbiologist, and veterinarian and put those ideas to the test! Introduce the MedMyst Animal Alert! game to the class.
  4. Allow approximately 45 minutes for students to play all three game paths. You may want to split game time over the course of several days, especially if you want students to complete the mission logs for each one.
  5. Have students reflect on how the various roles they played were interdependent. Can they think of other examples of scientists who work together to solve problems? Talk with students about career choices within the field of science and how they support one another's work.
  6. You can assess student learning via the BrainPOP game quiz and/or the game quiz created by the game developer, Rice University.
  7. Students can research more about topics related to the game using the resources found in Cool Links. Encourage students to share their findings with the class.

Extension Activities:

Visit the Classroom Activities page of the Rice University teacher resources site for MedMyst.

You'll find an activity called "Me As A Scientist", in which students demonstrate their understanding of the scientific inquiry process by following a guided experiment. They will grow bacterial colonies and use a disinfectant of their choice to compare to the school's disinfectant in an attempt to test how these variables affect bacterial growth.

You'll also find an activity called "Design It" which includes a printable and a PowerPoint presentation. In this activity, students use a brainstorming technique to guide them in the scientific method as they design and carry out their own bacterial experiment.