Target Grade Level / Age Range

High School students: 15-18 year olds


45 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. 


• Identify agencies that promote animal and public health. 
• Recognize careers that are available in animal and public health.
• Describe the education and responsibilities that different animal and public health jobs require. 


Suggested Companion Resources 

Vocabulary (with definitions)

Diagnostic tests: Tests performed to aid in the detection of a disease
Epidemiology: The study of causes, distribution, and control of diseases in populations
One Health: An approach that recognizes that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment; its goal is to encourage the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines locally, nationally, and globally to achieve the best health for people, animals, and our environment
Rendering plants: Plants that process animal by-products into different materials
Screening tests: Tests performed on a large number of people to identify those who have or are likely to develop a disease
Surveillance tests: Tests performed to monitor the occurrence of a disease in a population

Background – Agricultural Connections

This lesson introduces careers and agencies important in animal and public health. While this lesson may be completed on its own for the basic career knowledge, it is recommended that this lesson is used after students have completed lessons 1-4 of the “Bring Home the Blue, Not the Flu!” curriculum (either as classroom instruction or on their own using the online module). The second half of the lesson includes a “solve the outbreak” activity, and the background gained in lessons 1-4 will facilitate interactivity in the case study, and allow a more engaging and robust learning experience. 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 beginning the lesson, you can ask students to identify careers that are important in animal health. Then, you can ask students to identify careers that are important in human health. Finally, you can ask students if they know of careers that are important in both animal and human health. You can encourage your students by prompting them to think about careers that may be involved with preventing, researching, or stopping disease spread. 


  1. Before sharing the PowerPoint, challenge students to brainstorm careers important in animal and human health, including those that may be involved with preventing, researching, or stopping disease spread
  2. Present Lesson 6 PowerPoint or online module to the class. Ask students to make a list of the careers discussed during the lesson. Students should take notes that describe the education and responsibilities that different animal and public health jobs require. 
    1. Identify agencies that promote animal and public health. (slides 6-16 of the PowerPoint)
    2. Recognize careers that are available in animal and public health. (slides 17-24 of the PowerPoint) 
  3. Ask students to review their list of careers from the lesson. Ask students to circle the three careers that are of most interest to them.
  4. Ask students to conduct basic research online independently. They should try to find answers to the following questions.
    1. Are their jobs in this career area available in my community? If not, where are these jobs located?
    2. What education requirements are there to become qualified to work in this career field?
    3. What certification requirements are there before you can work in this career field?
    4. What is the salary or income range for people who have this job?
    5. What are two other interesting facts you learned about the job or career field?
  5. Ask students to share the findings from their research. Facilitate discussion over the students’ research. Challenge them to think about individuals in your community that may be involved with epidemiology or preventing diseases. Encourage students interested in the careers to reach out to individuals in their interested career to ask questions or set up potential job shadows.
  6. 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? 

• There are local, state, and national agencies that promote animal and public health. 
• “Disease detectives,” or epidemiologists, investigate disease outbreaks.

Extension Activities

With the research that students conducted on the different animal and public health careers, they can reach out to those individuals in their community to learn more about the positions. If any of the careers sparked interest in students, they can choose to learn more by interviewing or shadowing someone in this profession, and perhaps pursue a future in the field of study.  


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Healthy pets healthy people. Available at:
Center for Food Security and Public Health website. Available at: 


  • 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.