West Nile

West Nile Virus Webquest


Welcome future doctors and scientists! In this project your group will research the West Nile Virus. You will present your findings to a decision making board that will take action based on  your recommendations. The virus is quickly making its way ascross our country, so your input is urgently needed.

Created by: F.D. Quintrell
Los Angeles Unified School District

URL: https://www.can-do.com/uci-webquests/2002-webquests

Resources Needed:

Your group will need access to the internet and much brain power!

Your Tasks:

First task:

Decide what type of scientist you are. Your decision will determine the type of research you will engage in. Each member of the group is to be a different scientist. Your choices are: (get more information before you maske your decision)

Second task: 

gather information for your presentations:


A) Microbe Mysteries - complete the six "microbe mystery" tasks. Take informational notes through use of a mind map. Focus on the differences between the types of microbes.

B) How stuff works - Find out how viruses work

C) Watch and be able to explain these animations and diagrams of viruses:

D) Fill out a web site review sheet. Does this bacteriophage web site have information that is usefull to you in your research?

E) Puzzlemaker - create a crossword puzzle of all your important vocabulary


A) I can do that! - go through the five "DNA" pages as well as the three "cell" pages. take informational notes through the use of a mind map. focus on DNA replication.

B) DNA strands - find out how DNA is structured by playing with this animation. 

C) DNA isolation - isolate some DNA! make sure to document your steps for your presentation. (Use the digital camera!)

D) Fill out a web site review sheet. Does this "tour of the basics" web site have information that is usefull to you in your research?

E) Puzzlemaker - create a crossword puzzle of all your important vocabulary


A) Mosquitos! - go through all the mosquito information. take informational notes in the form of a mind map. Focus on mosquito life cycle and body structure.


B) Insect world! - make a list of insects in the same classification as mosquitos.

C) Mosquito game - (hint - your other scientists will be jealous - tell them it was a hard educational game)

D) Fill out a web site review sheet. Does this "How stuff works" web site have information that is usefull to you in your research? 

 E) Puzzlemaker - create a crossword puzzle of all your important vocabulary

Third task:

You have now changed careers! You are all now Epidemiologists (what in the world is that?) You must now confer with your fellow doctors to prepare your presentation. The West Nile Virus is of great concern and your recommendations are needed soon! All members should complete all activities.


F) You need answers to the questions the board will pose. Prepare yourself:  most all questions will be answered at the centers for disease control.(That is the premier site, all other web sites draw their information from there)

G) Create a map of an affected state. Identify each county and the number of cases per county. (see your teacher for a state map) Analyze: 

Culminating task:

Your group must now prepare your presentation to the board. (the class) Your presentation should answer the questions:

Your presentation will be scored on our class rubric.

Email: bioteacher5@yahoo.com

Created August 16, 2002
Last Revised August 16, 2002

Teacher Notes

West Nile Virus - Plans for Educators

Suggested Grade Level:

I created this lesson to use with my seventh grade students. Feel free to adjust this lesson to your needs.

Science Content Standards:

Science-Grade 7-Life Sciences
2e DNA is the genetic material of living organisms, and is located in the chromosomes of each cell.
5a Plants and animals have levels of organization for structure and function, including cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and the whole organism.
5b Organ systems function because of the contributions of individual organs, tissues, and cells. The failure of any part can affect the entire system.

Science-Grade 7-Investigation and Experimentation
7a Select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display data.
7b Utilize a variety of print and electronic resources (including the World Wide Web) to collect information as evidence as part of a research project.
7c Communicate the logical connection among hypothesis, science concepts, tests conducted, data collected, and conclusions drawn from the scientific evidence.
7d Construct scale models, maps and appropriately labeled diagrams to communicate scientific knowledge (e.g., motion of Earthís plates and cell structure).
7e Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and verbal presentations.

Here are a few other standards I found, teachers interested in doing this webquest with 9th grade students might look closely at the genetic standards for your level.

Grade 6: Ecology (5e), Investigation and Experimentation (7a, b, c, d, e, g)
Grade 9: Biology (1c, 5f), Investigation and Experimentation (1a, c, d, i,) 

S.C.O.R.E. Lessons Standards Search by Grade and Subject
S.C.O.R.E. Standards and Framework
California Content Standards Grades K-12
California Content Standards Grades K-12 - Science - PDF Format

Teacher notes:

My plan for this webquest was to set up a framework in which students can have a wide range of choices. While analyzing current data and playing the role of a scientist,  students can make recommendations regarding public health. I am going to  have oral presentations where my students can exhibit mastery of subjects covered within the school year. (genetics, cells, basteria and virii, animal structure vs. function, life cycle, etc.) comments are welcome and appreciated.

A side note - I have big hopes for the mapping activity as it incorporates some math skills that my students need. I already have plans to change it to include a graphing activity. I am sure that it will be improved during implementation and this teacher wishes to hear from others who have had success. You can find great county level maps at the Center for Integration of Natural Disaster Information.

As I was writing this webquest, Colorodo has had its first confirmed case. I assume that soon the virus will be here in California. Expect to change some of the guiding questions.

If you have trouble with my rubric, (It's in word format) you can try a quick html version I made of it here. It lost all my formatting, but fix it up!


Students need practice in group dynamics. Groups will work closely at end of webquest to create their presentations.Students will also need practice in data collection and note taking. This has been planned as an end of the year project. I plan on spending the earlier part of the semester giving the students the necessary skills to be successful.


Interpreting data, making inferences, forming hypotheses, making predictions, mind maps
Presentations -hyperstudio or imovie
Computer literacy.
Effective use of Internet resources. 


Presentations - defense of oral presentation, peer evaluation, rubric,
web site review sheet


Students may research related viral or arthropod species. 


Need a refresher on mind maps? go to Tony Buzan's web site