Target Grade Level / Age Range

High School students: 15-18 year olds


55 minutes (not including set up- 5 minutes)

Virtual Learning

An online course is available and created for middle-high school students (ages 13-18), available at This lesson plan is created using the information taught in the online courses. The website also contains additional supplemental resources that are available for educators. Hands-on activity guides with demo videos are available, as well as related resources.


  • Define biosecurity.
  • Explain the importance of biosecurity in zoonotic disease control.
  • Review ways zoonotic diseases might be spread to you, your family, and your animals on the farm and at exhibitions.
  • Describe measures to prevent zoonotic disease spread to you, your family, and your animals on farms and at exhibitions.


Personal Protective Equipment Activity: Materials
Material Quantity
Shaving Cream 1 can
Tyvek suit 1 per 15 participants
Boot Covers 1 per 15 participants
Gloves 1 pair per 15 participants
Mask 1 per 15 participants


Suggested Companion Resources

Vocabulary (with definitions)

  • Biosecurity: A series of practices designed to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases
  • Pathogens: Disease-causing agents

Background – Agricultural Connections

This lesson introduces the basic concepts and definitions important in understanding what biosecurity is and how and why to practice good biosecurity, especially related to zoonotic disease control. While it is helpful to have students review lessons 1 and 2 of the “Bring Home the Blue, Not the Flu!” curriculum (either as classroom instruction or on their own using the online module), it is not required. The content in the lesson emphasizes working and showing with animals, but any students with a general interest in agriculture, science, and/or health will find the lessons relatable and understandable. Whether on the farm, at a fair, or at home, the information presented within these courses—and the many supplemental resources we have developed to assist with implementation—can benefit youth with their current and future livestock projects, and contribute to their science and health education.

Interest Approach or Motivator

Before starting the lesson, provide some scenarios to your students relating to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Ask the students what kind of PPE would be needed for each of the scenarios. Some examples are:

  • You are visiting sick dairy cattle. What PPE would you need before entering the dairy barn? (Gloves, clean boots, clean coveralls)
  • You are cleaning out your pig’s pen. What kind of PPE would you need before cleaning the pen? (Gloves, clean boots, clean shovel)


  1. Present the Lesson 3 PowerPoint or online module to the class. 
    1. Define biosecurity. (slide 5 of the PowerPoint.)
    2. Explain the importance of biosecurity in zoonotic disease control. (slides 5 & 6 of the PowerPoint) Discuss with students the importance of biosecurity during the Personal Protective Equipment activity.
    3. Review ways zoonotic diseases might be spread to you, your family, and your animals on the farm and at exhibitions. (slides 20-28 in the PowerPoint)
  2. Describe with students measures to prevent zoonotic disease spread to you, your family, and your animals on farms and at exhibitions. 
  3. Facilitating discussion on biosecurity on farms and at exhibitions can encourage students to connect the topic to personal experiences.
  4. Prepare the materials and classroom for a Personal Protective Equipment activity.
    1. Choose volunteers to dress in PPE. The number of volunteers depends on the amount of PPE available for the activity.
    2. Fill the volunteer(s)’ hands with shaving cream and ask the volunteer to remove all PPE.
    3. A video tutorial is also available here:
    4. Lead a discussion on how well the volunteer is able to not spread the shaving cream. Also discuss the importance of handwashing, even if wearing PPE.
  5. Distribute the Learning Objective worksheet.
    1. This can be used as an exit card or end quiz for the day.
    2. The learning objective worksheet can also be used as review of the objectives for the day.

Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)

Did you know?

  • It is important to not eat or drink around animals or animal areas. This increases the risk of transmission of diseases between animals and humans.
  • You should work with your veterinarian before you take any animals to fair. Your veterinarian can evaluate your animal and ensure it is healthy.

Extension Activities

The students can take the PPE activity and implement it into 4-H meetings to educate about the importance of PPE use. The information the students learned about biosecurity and cleaning can be implemented in their own farms or when they take their animals to exhibitions.



  • Brittney Nelson, BS
  • Abbey Canon, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
  • Molly Lee, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
  • Kristen Obbink, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Organization Affiliation

Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University

National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

  • T1.9-12 c.: Discuss the scientific basis for regulating the movement of plants and animals worldwide to control for the spread of potentially harmful organisms (e.g., invasive species and disease causing organisms such as foot and mouth disease and avian and swine flu) as well as the methods of control in place (state, national, and international policies, economic incentives)
  • T5.9-12 a.: Communicate how the global agricultural economy and population influences the sustainability of communities and societies
  • T5.9-12 d.: Describe essential agricultural careers related to production, consumption, and regulation
  • T5.9-12 i.: Explain the role of government in the production, distribution, and consumption of food
  • T3.9-12 h.: Provide examples of foodborne contaminants, points of contamination, and the policies/agencies responsible for protecting the consumer
  • T2.9-12 a.: Compare and contrast the differences between nature’s plant and animal lifecycles with agricultural systems (e.g., producers manage the lifecycle of plants and animals to produce a product for consumption)
  • T2.9-12 c.: Discuss reasons for government’s involvement in agricultural production, processing, and distribution
  • T2.9-12 e.: Identify inspection processes associated with food safety regulations

Iowa Core Standards

  • Health Literacy
    • 21.9-12.HL.1. Demonstrate functional health literacy skills to obtain, interpret, understand and use basic health concepts to enhance personal, family, and community health.
    • 21.9-12.HL.2. Synthesize interactive literacy and social skills to establish and monitor personal, family and community goals related to all aspects of health.
    • 21.9-12.HL.3. Apply critical literacy/thinking skills related to personal, family and community wellness.
    • 21.0.12.HL.5. Demonstrate behaviors that foster healthy, active lifestyles for individuals and the benefit of society.
  • Science
    • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
    • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • HS-ETS1-4. Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.