1. Tell students they will be taking on the role of a medic
in an undisclosed location. Their task is to determine
the origin of the ailment affecting a given individual.
To begin with, student groups will be provided with only
the symptoms of their given individual. Their task is
then to formulate a series of questions whose answers
will aid in the determination of the origin of the ailment.
2. Distribute case studies to student groups. Allow groups
5-10 minutes to read their case studies and begin formulating
3. Once students have had time to formulate some initial
questions, have a representative from each group stand
and describe their case. Once all groups have described
their case students may begin to ask you questions. You
may choose to do this in a number of ways:
i. You can rotate around the room moving from group
to group and responding to one or two questions.
ii. You can have the groups take turns to ask you questions
while the other groups listen.
strictly you respond to the questions also depends upon
if you want to focus
on students’ questioning skills. Students must be
careful not to ask merely yes and no questions. When student
groups ask a question concerning other people being affected
by this disease you provide them with the corresponding
general answer card. They must then ask more specifically
about gender, ethnicity, age, and relationships among affected
individuals to receive more detailed cards. An answer list
is provided so you can give students the answers to their
questions. (For example if Student Group A asks “Is
anyone else in the area affected?” give them card
#1 which has that question on the front and the answer
on the reverse.) If students ask a question that is not
on the Question and Answer sheet provided simply tell students “I’ll
get back to you on that.” Have students write the
question on the front of an index card. If the question
is relevant, use the teacher background to answer the question
on the reverse. If the question is irrelevant, make up
a plausible answer.
4. Continue on in this manner until class time has been
exhausted or until groups have asked all questions and
analyzed all the answers.
5. Tell the groups that tomorrow they will have a few
minutes to prepare a presentation for the class. In that
presentation they must 1) describe the symptoms of the
disease and 2) share the observations and inferences that
led to their conclusions about the origins of the ailment.
You may need to explain what an inference is to the students.
1. As students enter the room, have them begin setting
up a 5 column chart to use during the presentations. The
chart should include the following headings: Group Number,
Symptoms Noted, Observations, Inferences/Disease Origin,
and Evaluation of Inferences.
2. Invite groups to present their findings to the entire
3. As groups present, the others should take notes in
4. Once all groups have presented, ask them to stop and
think about whether the inferences made by the presenting
group were valid. Would they have made the same inferences?
If not why not?
5. Review the definition of homeostasis and then ask them
how their disease disturbs homeostasis. Have students respond
to this question in a written format before talking as
a class about this.
1. Assess whether students can generate quality questions
during a class discussion.
2. Are students able to make inferences about disease
origins based upon their observations as demonstrated in
3. Assess ability to use what may be a new term, homeostasis,
to the introductory material on disease in a written format.
In their science
notebooks, have students write a reflective conclusion.
What did they learn? What new questions do
they have? How does the exercise connect to “real