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Why is contact tracing so important?

Lesson Plan
CDC NERD contact tracing graphic

In module 7, students learn about the role of case investigations and contact tracing in investigating disease outbreaks. Using details from an outbreak investigation, students calculate the incubation and infectious period for known cases. Then, they use this information to make evidence-based recommendations. Students also learn what it takes to pursue a public health career as a public health nurse.

Educational Video for Students

This video introduces students to the concepts they will be exploring in CDC NERD Academy Module 7: Why is contact tracing so important? This video explains the basics of contact tracing, what it means, and how it is used. Students learn about case investigations, who does them, and why they are important. The video describes what information a case investigator (also known as a contact tracer) might look at, like what symptoms a person has, when the person started feeling sick, and where the person has been. Students learn about the role that contact tracers play and how they use the collected information to find and contact other people who may have been exposed to the person who is sick. After this video, students will be able to answer the question, “Why is contact tracing so important?” and they will be ready to participate in a roleplaying activity and group discussion.

Activity Demonstration for Teachers

This instructional video guides educators through the activities of Module 7: Why is contact tracing so important? The video provides a brief explanation of the concepts students will learn in this Module, including contact tracing, case investigations, and how they are used to make evidence-based recommendations. It shows educators how to organize their classroom, group students, and prepare handouts for student participation in a roleplaying learning activity in which the class conducts a hypothetical case investigation. The video explains the role the educator will play as Contact Tracing Supervisor, the roles the students will play, and how to assist students with completing the roleplay scenario. The video provides suggested timing for the activity, guidance for class discussion, and tips for success.

Public Health Career Spotlight: Public Health Nurse

A public health nurse plays a vital role in disease prevention and promoting community health and safety. They look at health trends and risk factors and work to improve access to health services. They also help design and implement health education campaigns and disease prevention activities.

  • Watch the video below to bring a real CDC public health nurse into your classroom. Share the link with students and encourage them to watch with family and share with friends.
  • Download the poster below and display it in the classroom for reference and discussion when you talk about a career as a public health nurse.

Hear from Augustina, a real CDC nurse consultant.

Woman public health nurse standing holding board and pen.

Public Health Nurse Career Spotlight Poster

Learn what it takes to be a public health nurse.

To learn about the other careers featured in NERD Academy, visit the collection of public health career spotlights.

To learn more about public health STEM careers at CDC, encourage students to visit See Yourself in a Public Health Career.