he cost of healthcare is one of the largest personal expenditures worldwide, with residents of the United States spending upwards of $10,000 each year. A significant portion of healthcare costs in the United States and many other countries comes from paying for prescription medications. This unit is designed to give 9-12th grade chemistry, pharmacology, or biology students an introduction to prescription drug costs and what scientific measures can be taken to lower costs. Topics necessary for this unit include the relationship between structure and function, pH, activation energy, the relationship between temperature and reaction rate, catalysts, inhibitors, among additional concepts. This unit functions as an end-of-year project incorporating all of the topics listed above and challenges students to conduct research, design their own strategy to lower drug costs, and prove their viability and cost-saving potential through calculation. Individually or in pairs students must pick a strategy or technology, spend a day or more researching it, two days writing a research paper on it, one day preparing a class presentation, and one day for presentations. Student’s ability to effectively prove the viability of their strategies/technologies as well as estimate the cost savings to consumers will be weighted heavily.
The subject matter in this unit will explore The American Disabilities Act, its impact on tourism, hospitality with empathetically designed applied biotechnological models. The primary objective of this unit is to get students to apply their foundational knowledge of allied health professions to a specified disability.
The curriculum unit was designed and formatted with the intention to give the student a basic understanding of disabilities and to design a rapid prototype with empathy.
Students will apply their scientific knowledge to the real-world and overarching question: “How do disabled people navigate activities of daily living and the world of travel with ease?” This curriculum unit will employ Design Thinking methodology towards the development of novel medical devices that can make daily life activities and traveling safer, convenient and more enjoyable.
The teaching strategies are varied, forward thinking, and promote brainstorming sessions as a means of student engagement. Strategies used will encourage students to think independently and work collaboratively. The curriculum unit framework includes a series of steps, including a complete understanding of the American Disabilities Act, an Everfi-Endeavor STEM careers exploration course that offers a tailored approach to introduce topics relating to Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medical Careers, and concludes with a service learning project.
Young students seem fascinated by how their bodies work. This unit serves as an introduction for young students to begin their fundamental understanding of human biology.
The focus in this six-week curriculum unit is for primary-grade scientists to build some conceptual knowledge of the human skeletal system. The use of inquiry allows students at all levels to learn in an inherently differentiated environment, learning new concepts and experiencing laboratory experiments and classroom demonstrations throughout this unit on how our skeleton helps us.
The learning begins with the primary mentor texts, the picture book, The Skeleton Inside You by Philip Balestrino and Bones by Stephen Krensky. Classroom activities include creating models of bones, viewing x-rays, brainstorming design solutions for damaged or missing bones, measuring bones and determining structure features and taking a field trip to the local museum to view and draw skeletons. Students will maintain a science journal throughout the unit.
We want to develop citizens who are knowledgeable problem-solvers as they tackle the challenges of improving the quality of life for themselves and the world around them. One approach that has been heavily utilized in universities and businesses in recent times is known as Design Thinking. It is a model adopted by famous companies such as Google, Apple and Airbnb and they have wielded it to notable effect. The design thinking model is an incredibly powerful and useful process for students to use whenever they are faced with designing solutions to help others. Like any process or skill, it will take practice to become good at it.
While the heart of this unit is the Design Thinking process, I have also connected it to life science concepts related to the human body as outlined in both NGSS and Connecticut State Standards. The unit should take nine or ten 45 minute lessons to complete, depending on the complexity of the projects to be prototyped and tested.
This unit looks at the interplay between losses in privacy and gains in convenience that accompany the ever-expanding use of and reliance on digital media and technology in our lives. The aim is not to convince students of a specific stance; rather, it is to provide an opportunity for students to look critically at the ways in which privacy has changed and to think about taking intentional action regarding their own use of digital media.
Each week of the unit, students will grapple with an essential question that focuses their attention on one aspect of privacy. As the core text, George Orwell’s 1984 elucidates two major definitions of privacy: first, the internal thoughts that we develop and contemplate without outside influence; and second, the freedom from being observed, accessed, and controlled by outsiders.
Throughout this unit, students will produce short argumentative pieces drawing evidence from the texts read for and discussed in class. The short pieces of writing students produce throughout the class will culminate in a final argumentative essay weighing the interplay and value of privacy and convenience in our digital lives.
This unit exposes 10th or 11th grade Chemistry, Physical and Environmental Science students to basic concepts of Biotechnology. Students will learn that, through the use of Biotechnology, scientists and engineers are able to modify genetic structure in animals and plants to improve them for the development of beneficial products. In this unit, students will be introduced to specific biotechnology aspects of genetic engineering, artificial tissue development, tissue regeneration and tissue culture in which fragments of living tissue from an animal or plant are transferred to an artificial environment in which they can continue to survive and function.
In order to understand these larger concepts, the unit contains a short presentation of “Molecules of life”, exposing students to the fundamentals of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and their components. Concepts in biotechnology development will be accompanied by a two week lesson plan that provides real-world examples and hands-on laboratory protocols.
Students will explore what is Biotechnology as a branch of Science and explain its role in everyday life. They will also study and conduct experiments in testing proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and learn about fermentation process. Teachers will use the concepts of Biotechnology to expose students to organic chemistry concepts such as carboxylic acids, amines, and introduce students to the basic nomenclature of these organic compounds.
Through this unit, 7th grade students will use the engineering design thinking process to create a prototype for a solution to an injury to the integumentary system. Students will begin by learning about healthy, functional skin and then learn about two major injuries to skin: burns and skin cancer. Following their research on healthy and injured skin, students will walk through the steps of the design process to create a prototype of a solution to the problem. At the end of the unit, students will present their work and findings. This unit was designed for 7th graders but can be adapted for students in 6th through 12th grade.
The unit is framed around the engineering design process to intentionally bring an interactive approach to learning which emphasizes the importance of the process to finding answers to problems, rather than simply the outcome. At the middle school stage of their academic career, many students are often simply asking questions to directly learn the answers, rather than valuing the process of discovering the solution. Through this unit, students will become equipped with problem-solving skills that will shape their thinking in and outside of the classroom. This unit is designed with hopes of engaging students in a new way of thinking by pushing creativity, inquiry, and inspiring students to value the process of discovering solutions.
The Solutions based on Biomimicry for Personalized Health unit will allow high school students in the Biology or Health field to develop the skills needed to assess and design solutions to worldwide healthcare issues. The next generation science standards (NGSS) are used as a basis for the development of this unit and will be woven throughout the unit to allow practice and implementation of the standards. The question formulation technique engages the students with both local and world-wide problems in healthcare. Once the problems have been defined, students will begin to design possible solutions. Biomimicry, biotechnology and engineering will be applied to the possible solutions. This will allow for students to develop various routes in personalized medicine to a viable healthcare solution. The feedback and refinement process gives students the chance to test the sustainability of their design against economic, technological and other constraints. Students will create a computer simulation and prototype to develop the healthcare solution. Once the redesign process has been completed the students will research how to pitch their new engineering healthcare solution. The format will be similar to ‘Shark Tank’ and validators will have the opportunity to question the students on their innovation as well as decide whether they are interested in investing. Overall, the unit is a comprehensive personalized health unit that includes all science and engineering practices and the engineering performance expectations.
CRISPR-Cas9 is a gene-editing technology with potential to expand the agricultural industry and improve human health. However, this technology may have unforeseeable consequences and adverse effects for society. Statistical procedures are often used to study public perceptions of controversial technologies. In this unit plan, students will design and administer surveys to investigate how their peers feel about various applications of gene-editing technology. In the process, students will apply random sampling methods and learn how to minimize response bias. Once their surveys are completed, students will analyze the results using contingency tables, confidence intervals, and hypothesis tests. The ultimate goal of this unit will be to help students to create clear policies for regulating the use of CRISPR-Cas9 and defend these policies with their statistical findings.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), immunizations are one of the public health’s most cost-effective inventions. The United Nations (UN) created several sustainable development goals to ensure a sustainable future for all. One of these goals focuses on good health and well-being at all ages. Vaccinations play a vital role in achieving this goal. In 1803, Edward Jenner coined the term vaccination, from the Latin word “Vacca” which means cow. Vaccines are substances that consist of weakened, dead, or incomplete portions of pathogens or antigens. Vaccines help prevent diseases and are one of the most important achievements of mankind. Research shows that vaccines help prevent a million deaths per year worldwide, increase average life span, and help eradicate infectious diseases such as smallpox. The current unit, targeted to high school students, dives into the history of infectious diseases and vaccinations, different types of immunity and how they are acquired, a brief overview of how vaccinations help produce antibodies that combat disease-causing agents and briefly discuss the vaccination delivery systems that are currently used worldwide. This unit could be taught over a period of 3-4 weeks, the unit introduces the Design Thinking Process where students embrace empathy, work collaboratively, create “human-centric” solutions to problems.
This unit focuses on the blending of vaccine focused content with basic biology content. The blending of content primarily concerns the human immune system. Allowing high school biology students to explore human vaccine technology through fundamental immune system knowledge and providing a tangible and relatable way to engage with these two complex topics to aid student understanding of how a vaccine works on the individual level. Prior to addressing the science behind how a vaccine leverages the immune system some vaccine focused content will provide a brief history of vaccines and explanation of vaccine types. Herd immunity will also be discussed within the unit. Herd immunity refers to the percentage of immune population threshold that is necessary to avoid an epidemic. Herd immunity is about understanding how vaccines work on a population level. It is relevant that students understand that vaccines are not just an individual health issue and are perhaps more importantly a community health issue. These topic areas will also allow the unit to explore the pressing and relevant vaccine related issue of barriers to vaccine adoption and public adoption of vaccine protocols. Finally, the likely future of vaccine technology, DNA vaccines, will be discussed. DNA vaccines offer much promise in eliminating some inherent vaccination issues such as transport, storage, ease of production, and safety.