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Disease and Epidemics - Science Lessons
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Diseases & Epidemics Icon In the science lessons of the "Diseases and Epidemics" unit, students will explore how the study of diseases, epidemics and disease management offers opportunities for exploration of biological evolution, immune systems, interaction between humans and their environment, and interaction among organisms. They will become acquainted with public health professionals who work toward protecting the health of the community. The Threaded Big Idea below occurrs over the length of the unit, from week 3 to week 10. It prepares the student to be able to complete the major project. Students will explore seven big ideas in this unit and be able to answer the following questions that address those big ideas:

  1. What local public health issues associated with disease and epidemics do we have in our community and how can we deal with them?
  2. Why are aseptic techniques so important in the biology classroom?
  3. What is disease? What characterizes an infectious disease?
  4. How does the body defend itself? What is immunity?
  5. Bugs are bugs right? How different are different microorganisms and how does that affect the damage they inflict and how are they dealt with?
  6. How do medications work? How are specific pathogens dealt with?
  7. Where do new diseases come from and how do they ‘beat the system’ we have in place to defend against them?

Each big idea is addressed by a learning cycle. At the completion of each big idea’s learning cycle students should be able to answer the corresponding question. At the end of the unit, the students will be able to apply their new scientific understanding to the Major Project where they provide a public service message that is checked in advance by local public health officials for accuracy.

Threaded
Big Idea

Disease and epidemics are not things that happen to other people in other lands, but are issues within our own community.
Driving Question
What local public health issues associated with disease and epidemics do we have in our community and how can we deal with them?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

Major Project: Public Health Visitor


Using their background from the previous week’s lessons, students develop questions to ask a local public health or medical professional about local public health issues.

1. develop questions for a public health visitor

2. list local public health issues


Week 3
2 days

Explore


Major Project: Public Health Visitor

continued..

Identify public health issues of interest


Week 3
ongoing

Explain
Developing a Public Health Service Message

Using research as well as laboratory experiments, students will begin developing a public service message that addresses a public health issue faced by the local community

Develop a public service message that explains the science behind a public health issue faced by the local community


Week 10

Apply
Taking it to the Community

Once given the go ahead by local community partners, students share the message with a target audience.
Communicate with the local community the science of the public health issue.
Week 10

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Big Idea
The ubiquitous presence of microbes necessitates the use of aseptic techniques in the biology laboratory.
Driving Question
Why are aseptic techniques so important in the biology classroom?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

Introduction to Aseptic Techniques
(Part of an Access Excelence Lesson)

Students begin to explore the need for aseptic techniques in the biology classroom.

1. assess pre-knowledge of bacteria and aseptic techniques

2. prepare a work area


Week 1
1day

Explore/Explain

On the Microbe Trail: Bacteria and Aseptic Technique
(Part of an Access Excellence Lesson)

Students practically explore and explain why they need to use aseptic techniques as they learn those techniques

1. streaking plates

2. pour, label, seal and store plates in an incubator

Week 1
2 days
Apply
Laboratory Procedures: Poster and Rubric

Students produce a poster that explains some aspect of aseptic techniques and develop a rubric that the teacher uses to assess their techniques.

1. articulate aseptic laboratory procedures in a poster

2. articulate aseptic laboratory procedures in a rubric that the teacher can use


Week 1
2.5 days

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Big Idea
If you have a disease, some aspect or aspects of the body’s normal state is disturbed and homeostasis is not maintained. Most of the diseases we are familiar with are the result of impacts from external factors, (biological and chemical), genetic, or developmental. Infectious diseases are transmitted person to person, via contaminated food & water, and/or via animal vectors
Driving Question
What is disease? What characterizes an infectious disease?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

Medic!!!

Student groups are presented with a variety of case studies, each describing the symptoms of a disease. The students must figure out, through questioning, the root cause of the disease. As students develop their questioning skills, they develop an understanding of disease transmission and origin.

Use questions to navigate and analyze information about the presentation of a disease


Week 2
2 days

Explore
Disease Hits Home

In this lesson students are provided with the name of the disease and, using library and internet facilities, are asked to explore and explain the route of transmission of this disease in their specific case study.

Determine how a disease is transmitted

 

Week 2
2 days

Explain

What’s that Brown Fuzzy Stuff on My Plum? (Diseases are the Pits)

Laboratory exercise using Koch’s Postulates to explore Germ Theory

Using Koch’s postulates, students will isolate and identify pathogen.



Week 2-4
4 days

Apply

Mystery Spot
(Access Excellence)

Students explore the information to figure out a disease.
Week 3
2 days

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Big Idea
The immune system is an interacting system of specific and non-specific components that protects the body through physical, chemical and cellular means.
Driving Question
How does the body defend itself? What is immunity?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

Food Forensics: A Case of Mistaken Identity
(An Access Excellence Lesson)

Students are introduced to the immune system via a mystery that involves the overreaction of the immune system. Engaged by this laboratory experience, students begin to ask questions about what is it that defends self against non-self

1. Develop an experiment to test a hypothesis

2.Use their understanding of antigen-antibody specificity to develop a hypothesis

3. Articulate that the antibody-antigen specificity is one part of the immune system.

4. Develop questions around the components of the immune system.



Weeks 3 & 4
4 days

Explore
Launching a Defense; Understanding the Human Immune System

Students explore set websites to answer and develop questions about the immune system and finally jigsaw the materials together.

1. Develop and answer content specific questions about the immune system.

2. Present information to peers in a power point presentation.

3. Assimilate information into a pictorial/ graphical description of the immune system.


Week 4
3 days
Explain

Does the Chicken have Anthrax?
The purpose of this activity is for the students to develop an understanding for the components of nonspecific immunity by utilizing a scientific approach.

I am a Pathogen (Adaptive Immunity)
Students analyze the results of a hands-on activity to explain one method of defense. Then in kinesthetic activities, explore and explain how the components of the immune system interact and function

1. Explain how each of the components of innate immunity function in the protection of the body.

2. Following an investigation, articulate how innate immunity functions.

1. Explain how innate immunity functions to protect the body.

 

Week 5
2 days

Apply
Waterborne Diseases

Students apply their knowledge of the immune system to explain the immune response in a variety of cases. Students present their explanation to the rest of the class. The more creative the method of explanation the better.

Apply knowledge of the immune system to explain what is happening on the cellular level as the body meets a variety of foreign antigens

 

Week 5
2-3 days

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Big Idea
Pathogenic microorganisms take a variety of forms and correspondingly impact the body in different manners
Driving Question
Bugs are bugs right? How different are different microorganisms and how does that affect the damage they inflict and how they are dealt with?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
What’s living in My Mouth?

Student groups are presented with an opportunity to see bacteria alive and feeding inside the human mouth. This lesson serves as the engagement piece in a larger learning cycle about human immunity.
1. Identify in written and oral formats that bacteria can be found living everywhere.

2. Explain in written and oral formats why the immune system is necessary.

Week 6
3 days
Explore
Catch a Bug
Students consider the multiple meanings of the word “bug” and use it to describe both the diversity of organisms and the connection between organisms and diseases.
1. create a classification scheme for brainstormed “bugs”

2. explore and place anecdotal accounts of organisms into their classifications

3. identify the four major classes of microorganisms by using diseases as a springboard

4. describe different classification schemes and describe what each one is used for
Week 6
1 day
Explain
Routes of Entry

Student groups are given a set of stories describing different diseases and they have to classify each disease as pathogenic, non-pathogenic, beneficial, and put it into its’ proper place on a chart of the four microorganism types.
1. Explain the difference between diseases with pathogenic and non-pathogenic causes and classify diseases in this manner on a chart.

2. Name four different types of disease-causing pathogens and related diseases on a chart.

3. Summarize commonalities between some diseases of a specific pathogen.

Weeks 6 & 7
3 days
Apply
Describe the Perfect Pathogen

Students are asked to consider the attributes of the four main types of pathogens and describe what these attributes mean for the invasion of the body.
1. Apply their background in pathogens and immune systems to develop a model pathogen.

2. As a class articulate aspects of the immune system that would combat various types of pathogens.

3. Identify possible physical or behavioral changes in a pathogen that would be advantageous and possibly selected for (natural selection).
Week 7
3 days

--Top--

Big Idea
Building upon our understanding of natural immunity has allowed the development of vaccinations and antibiotics and a greater understanding of disease.
Driving Question
How do medications work? How are specific pathogens dealt with?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Introduction to Antibiotics

In this exercise students are briefly introduced to the idea of antibiotic resistance as a way to focus on antibiotics and the mechanisms by which they work.

1. Describe the impact of antibiotics on diseases

2. Describe what infections antibiotics are useful for

 

Week 8
1 day

Explore
Exploring Vaccines

Students review the historical background and focus on one vaccine to explore how vaccines work, then share their findings with the class.
1. Explain in a written format how vaccinations work and how they draw upon the natural immunity.

2. Differentiate between vaccinations and immunizations.

3. Identify a number of illnesses that can be prevented by the use of immunizations.
Week 8
3 days
Explain/Apply
A Pox no longer upon us

Historical documents allow for the student s to work with qualitative observations; these documents contain several hypotheses that remain the working basis of immunizations.
1. Articulate the relationships of the vaccines to primary and secondary immune responses of the body.

2. Explain how knowledge about vaccinations developed.
Weeks 8 & 9
3 days

--Top--

Big Idea
Diseases emerge & re-emerge over time. The emergence of a disease can be impacted by behavioral practices.
Driving Question
Where do new diseases come from and how do they ‘beat the system’ we have in place to defend against them?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
A Deadly Disease Among Us

Students discover that some diseases are relatively new to humankind (emerging diseases), while others that had been nearly eliminated in developed countries are now beginning to increase in incidence (re-emerging diseases).

1. Recognize that infectious diseases are a continuing problem among all human populations.

2.
Define and give examples of emerging infectious diseases.

3. Define and give examples of re-emerging infectious diseases

 


Week 9
1 day

Explore
Protecting the Herd

This activity introduces students to modeling as a scientific exercise. Students learn how models based on observations of disease transmission can be used to predict the likelihood of epidemics and to help public health officers recommend policies to protect the public from infectious diseases.

1. Explain how immunizing a significant proportion of a population against a disease prevents epidemics of that disease (herd immunity).

2. Be able to list factors that affect the proportion of a population that must be immunized in order to prevent epidemics.

3. Understand how large-scale vaccination programs help control infectious diseases.

 

Week 9
1 day

Explain

SuperBugs and Antibiotic Resistance

Through laboratory experimentation, students test antibiotics and/or antimicrobials to determine how quickly a given bacterium develops resistance to antibiotics and/or antimicrobials.

1. Explain how antibiotics affect the evolution of microorganisms.

2. Explain how misuse of antibiotics can lead to the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

 


Weeks 9 & 10
6 days
Apply
SuperBugs and Antibiotic Resistance continued    

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PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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