into the doctor’s office, the patient demands
some antibiotics, but is that what is really needed?
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.
(Antibiotic resistance will be covered in more detail
in later classes.) Students decide whether antibiotics
are the right prescription or not. Working as a group,
students review multiple illnesses and make the decision.
will be able:
Describe the impact of antibiotics on disease
2. Describe what infections antibiotics are useful for
Science Education Standard Teacher Background
Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY HEALTH
The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many
factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of
the disease-producing organism. Many diseases can be
prevented, controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such
as cancer, result from specific body dysfunctions and
cannot be transmitted.
Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science
In history, diverse cultures have contributed scientific
knowledge and technologic inventions. Modern science
began to evolve rapidly in Europe several hundred years
ago. During the past two centuries, it has contributed
significantly to the industrialization of Western and
non-Western cultures. However, other, non-European cultures
have developed scientific ideas and solved human problems
Usually, changes in science occur as small modifications
in extant knowledge. The daily work of science and engineering
results in incremental advances in our understanding
of the world and our ability to meet human needs and
aspirations. Much can be learned about the internal workings
of science and the nature of science from study of individual
scientists, their daily work, and their efforts to advance
scientific knowledge in their area of study.
Occasionally, there are advances in science and technology
that have important and long-lasting effects on science
and society. Examples of such advances include the following.
A seemingly incidental discovery had a revolutionary impact
on medicine. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, a
mold growing on some Petri dishes and also noted that where
the penicillin grew, the bacteria did not. What Fleming
found revolutionized medicine, as these antibiotics were
able to target bacterial cells, leaving the host relatively
unaffected. This significantly reduced the loss of life
to infection during World War II.
Antibiotics attack bacteria without harming cells belonging
to the host organism. There are two ways that antibiotics
do this. Antibiotics like penicillin are called Bactericidals
and kill bacteria by inhibiting cell wall synthesis and
thereby damaging the cell. Human and animal cells do not
have cell walls, so these antibiotics do not damage them.
Erythromycin and tetracycline are bacteriostatic antibiotics;
they inhibit nuclei acid and protein synthesis. This type
of antibiotic can affect the patient receiving them, but
because they have a greater effect on bacterial cells than
animal cells they can still be useful.
and Resource Websites
Center for Disease Control
PBS Evolution website, complete with web activities, video
clips etc. is very informative http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/