Curriculum Documents
SEPA Science Education Partnership Award

Climate Change and Vector-Borne Disease Investigations

Educators at the Yale Peabody Museum collaborated with researchers and teachers to design a standards-based STEM curriculum that investigates the influence of climate change on the transmission of vector-borne diseases. These include dengue fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya and malaria. Lessons address middle and high school life science standards:

  • experimental design
  • structure and function
  • size and scale
  • microorganisms
  • immune system and infectious diseases
  • ecosystem change
  • ecology and population dynamics


The curriculum targets grades 7–12 and includes some differentiated materials designated as Explorer or Investigator level.  Explorer versions are designed for middle school or introductory level high school life science classrooms. Investigator materials are intended for standard or honors level high school biology as well as AP Biology. Both levels are easily adapted for use in differentiated instruction or enrichment and as demonstrations.


The curriculum comprises the following three units and is designed to flow smoothly in this format. Each unit can also stand alone, so it is not critical that they be taught in this order.  If covered outside of sequence, teachers may need to add supplemental materials.


Climate Change and Vector-Borne Disease Unit

Climate parameters such as rising temperatures and increased precipitation are affecting mosquitoes and disease transmission worldwide.


Pathogens and Vectors Unit

Climate changes affect the life cycles of pathogens, causing faster replication that leads to increased transmission. Vectors that carry disease pathogens, as well as the pathogens themselves, will experience changes in metabolism due to the effects of climate change.


Disease Transmission Unit

Social and economic factors, in addition to climate variables, are critical in efforts to reduce the spread of disease.


This program was funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health. SEPA projects immerse students in science practices, increase science literacy and numeracy, and encourage biomedical careers through partnerships between scientists and educators.