Question Sheet: Disease Detectives


Before reading:

  1. Have you ever entered a science competition? Why or why not?
  2. What possible medical problems are important for kids to think about for

    their future?

During reading:

  1. How does someone get named “America’s Top Young Scientist of the Year”?
  2. What is a colonoscopy? See

    (National Institutes of Health).

  3. What foods went into an 885-calorie lunch?
  4. Joseph Church said, “If people realized they had to do all that [exercise to

    burn off the calories in] a cookie, they might change their minds.” State in

    your own words what he means.

  5. Who were the top prizewinners at this year’s DCYSC?
  6. Why were the National Institutes of Health involved in this year’s


After reading:

  1. Why do you think several of the challenges for the students included making

    a podcast or a video? What do these media resources have to do with science?

  2. Compare the DCYSC to a “typical” science fair. How is this competition

    similar to and different from science fairs that you have participated in or

    heard about?

  3. Why do you think the DCYSC organizers had students work together in teams?
  4. The article highlighted three health problems: bird flu, colon cancer, and

    obesity. What other health problems cause serious concern? See for Kids).

  5. This competition uses simulations to challenge students. Where else are

    simulations used to prepare people? Do you think they work?


What is an epidemic? A pandemic? The 1918 influenza pandemic has been described as the most devastating in recorded human history. How many people were killed worldwide? How did it start? How quickly did it spread? How many countries were affected? See (Stanford University).


  1. This article begins by telling a story of Anytown, U.S.A. Why do you think

    the author began the article with this story? How else might she have started

    the article?

  2. Compare this article about the DCYSC competition to one written about the

    competition in a previous year. Which article do you like better? Which one is

    more effective? What makes one article more interesting than the other? See

  3. Suppose you had to interview and write a short news article about one of the

    three top winners at this year’s DCYSC. Make a list of five questions that you

    would ask.


The following table lists rough estimates of the number of calories burned per minute for a variety of activities.

Aerobic dance
.062 calories
Basketball (full court, vigorous)
.097 calories
Bicycling (15 mph)
.049 calories
Bicycling (25 mph)
.139 calories
Canoeing (flat water, moderate pace)
.139 calories
Cross-country skiing (8 mph)
.104 calories
Golf (carrying clubs)
.045 calories
.078 calories
Rowing (vigorous)
.097 calories
Running (5 mph)
.061 calories
Running (10 mph)
.114 calories
Soccer (vigorous)
.097 calories
Swimming (20 yards/min)
.032 calories
Swimming (50 yards/min)
.070 calories
Tennis (recreational)
.032 calories
Walking (at 3.5 mph)
.035 calories
Walking (at 4.5 mph)
.048 calories

Pick your favorite activity from the list. How long would you

have to do it to burn 885 calories? Use these data to come up with a list of

three activities (including how long you would do each of them) to burn 885