Here are three online projects that focus on health-related issues for students of different ages and degrees of computer experience and skill.
For beginners, a simple information-access project can be quite popular. Have students use the web to find the latest information about national health trends and policy, as well as U.S. and world health epidemics. To encourage students to use the information they find, create a project that has them make predictions about future trends in health, perhaps using calculators or even spreadsheets. Students should start with the National Center for Health Statistics site at http://www.cdc.gov/ nchswww/datawh/statab/pubd.htm.
Intermediate-level students can use eMail to contact students around the world about health matters in their countries. If it’s not too controversial, have students focus on topics that might have some relevance in their livesteenage pregnancy, alcoholism, smoking, weight. E-Pals (http://www.epals.com) and Global Schoolhouse (http://www.globalschoolhouse.com) offer easy ways to find partner schools and get started on projects.
The most advanced students can be challenged with a project that requires them to create a computer game that simulates the response of our immune system to a virus. An example of this type of work can be found at the PBS web site in a project called “Surviving AIDS: Fighting Back,” which is at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/aids/immune.html.