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

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-12, students watch the BrainPOP movie Zika Virus and explore the other features in this topic to learn about the Zika virus: what it is, where it started, symptoms, prevention, and more. Students then apply their understanding by creating fact sheets about the virus to raise public awareness.


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm what they know about the Zika virus using a KWL chart.
  2. Learn about the Zika virus, including what it is, where it started, how it’s transmitted, symptoms, who’s at high risk, prevention, and more.
  3. Create fact sheets about the Zika virus to raise awareness.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Web graphic organizer (optional)
  • World map or globe
  • Construction paper and markers


virus, outbreak, epidemic, symptom, immune system, transmission, vaccine


  • Preview the movie Zika Virus to plan for adaptations.
  • Draw a KWL chart on the whiteboard or chart paper.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Draw a KWL chart on chart paper. Ask student what they know about the Zika virus. Write their responses in the K column. When everyone has had a chance to respond, ask what they would like to know about the virus. Write those responses in the W column.
  2. Show the movie Zika Virus to the whole class on the whiteboard. If necessary, pause to review on a classroom map or globe where the virus started and where its spread and to discuss key terms and concepts, such as outbreak, epidemic, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, microcephaly, and public health emergency.
  3. Next, if you have access to multiple computers or devices, have smalls groups of 2-3 students watch the movie again within the Make-a-Map feature. As they watch, have them use the Make-a-Map tools to construct a spider map identifying the following aspects of the Zika virus:  What it is, where it is, how it spreads, symptoms, prevention, etc. If limited computers, you can show the movie again to the whole class as they take notes offline on a Web graphic organizer.  
  4. Now draw students’ attention to the KWL chart. Review the list in the What I Know column and have them correct any incorrect information. Next, look at the What I Want to Know column and have students share any new information as you write it in the L column (What I Learned).
  5. Tell students that they’ve been hired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create fact sheets about the Zika virus to raise public awareness. Working in the same small groups, have students divide up the fact sheets so they each work on two topics or questions, including:  
    • What is the Zika virus?
    • Where did the Zika virus start and where has it spread?
    • How is it spread?
    • What are the symptoms?
    • Who is at high risk and why?
    • What is the treatment, or possible future treatments?
    • What can you do to prevent contracting the virus?
    • How is Zika being controlled? What are scientists learning about the virus?
  6. Have students use their graphic organizers they completed while watching the movie as well as the Q & A Related Reading to create their fact sheets.  When everyone has completed their Zika Virus Fact Sheets, put them on display in the classroom. Then invite other classes to raise awareness.

Extension Activities:

Invite students to create public service announcements about the Zika virus. They can record their PSAs and share with the class.