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news & tips

A collection of helpful articles on teachers and teaching

Start Your Biological Engines

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your biological engines!

As you wipe off the sunscreen and put on your sensible shoes and head back to school there are a lot of new things on your mind. Of course there will be the regular lesson planning, forms, bulletin boards, room set-up,  and a thousand things that you have on your to do list before the students walk through the door. However, this year there is another set of set up items relating to health. If your district is like most others you are getting ready for the possibility of a pandemic. The H1N1 flu (my students called it the Hini flu) is on the minds of many administrators and teachers.

I think the best option is to let everyone know what the fuss is all about and the science behind disease and how to stay healthy and safe. So, the lessons I will teach the first two weeks will center on the flu and disease. Of course I will be teaching the big idea of human body systems and some about virus and cell structure and functions. It is a great way to get the year started off with a good dose of good scientific thinking and some interesting discussions.

I will begin with a fair amount of information on the flu of 1918. Anyone who remembers that will be older than 91 years old. So, it is not likely that grandparents will be able to provide any information. However, parents may be able to chime in with stories they heard. The best source is online. There is a good video about the 1918 epidemic on the PBS NOVA site. I try not to frighten the students with some of the sites that paint a catastrophic picture. Rather, we focus on the facts and work from how we avoid the same calamity. From there I will get into the nitty gritty of the cell and how viruses work on our systems. With the interesting information the students found out about pandemics prior to the cell information there is always enough interest to get them into the core science. Understanding how cells and viruses differ is the key. The parasitic relationship between a virus and a cell is a good opportunity to explore some rich compare and contrast skills. This should provoke a significant increase in hand washing. For those who want a connection to careers you can check out epidemiologists. There are some good interviews online with folks who work in the field and some great science folks from the CDC who have added their career information to the mix.

The idea of starting with some science content that is both current and connected to the student’s lives can be a great place to start any exploration. I will focus on the biochemistry but the topic lends itself to biology well. For elementary students the topic is still relevant but I would make a concerted effort not to frighten them with stories from the 1918 epidemic.

So, roll out the hand sanitizer, the bells will be ringing soon. Have a good start to the year.? ?


Shannon C ‘de Baca is a passionate educator who teaches at Iowa Learning Online.

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Start Your Biological Engines

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your biological engines!

As you wipe off the sunscreen and put on your sensible shoes and head back to school there are a lot of new things on your mind. Of course there will be the regular lesson planning, forms, bulletin boards, room set-up,  and a thousand things that you have on your to do list before the students walk through the door. However, this year there is another set of set up items relating to health. If your district is like most others you are getting ready for the possibility of a pandemic. The H1N1 flu (my students called it the Hini flu) is on the minds of many administrators and teachers.

I think the best option is to let everyone know what the fuss is all about and the science behind disease and how to stay healthy and safe. So, the lessons I will teach the first two weeks will center on the flu and disease. Of course I will be teaching the big idea of human body systems and some about virus and cell structure and functions. It is a great way to get the year started off with a good dose of good scientific thinking and some interesting discussions.

I will begin with a fair amount of information on the flu of 1918. Anyone who remembers that will be older than 91 years old. So, it is not likely that grandparents will be able to provide any information. However, parents may be able to chime in with stories they heard. The best source is online. There is a good video about the 1918 epidemic on the PBS NOVA site. I try not to frighten the students with some of the sites that paint a catastrophic picture. Rather, we focus on the facts and work from how we avoid the same calamity. From there I will get into the nitty gritty of the cell and how viruses work on our systems. With the interesting information the students found out about pandemics prior to the cell information there is always enough interest to get them into the core science. Understanding how cells and viruses differ is the key. The parasitic relationship between a virus and a cell is a good opportunity to explore some rich compare and contrast skills. This should provoke a significant increase in hand washing. For those who want a connection to careers you can check out epidemiologists. There are some good interviews online with folks who work in the field and some great science folks from the CDC who have added their career information to the mix.

The idea of starting with some science content that is both current and connected to the student’s lives can be a great place to start any exploration. I will focus on the biochemistry but the topic lends itself to biology well. For elementary students the topic is still relevant but I would make a concerted effort not to frighten them with stories from the 1918 epidemic.

So, roll out the hand sanitizer, the bells will be ringing soon. Have a good start to the year.
 
Shannon C ‘de Baca is a passionate educator who teaches at Iowa Learning Online.

Print Friendly