2 hrs

Students prepare to create a public service announcement (PSA) that introduces a particular microbe to their community, including an evidence-based argument regarding the value of eradicating the microbe. In this activity, they collaborate in their project groups to conduct research on their focal microbe and then develop their argument about its eradication.

DIRECTIONS

This activity is part of the Misunderstood Microbes unit 

1. Prepare students for their collaborative project work for the Misunderstood Microbes unit.

  • Assign students to their project groups and focal microbe based on student input from the Harmful Microbes activity.
  • Explain the goal for students’ research on their microbe: to have all of the information they will need to decide if the microbe should be eradicated, with supporting evidence and reasoning. They will then use this information and argument to create their PSA, which is the final product for the unit.
      • Promote excitement and engagement about the final product by presenting the options that students will have for creating their PSA and aspects of the context (timing, audience, venue) for their final presentations.
      • Review the Misunderstood Microbes: PSA Project Rubric so students can ensure their PSA will meet the project and assessment goals.
  • Walk through Part A of the Misunderstood Microbes PSA Project Builder.
  • Given the limited time that students have for conducting research, suggest that students split up the research task by working in pairs to complete different parts of the table in Part A.


2. Students research their focal microbe and its impacts on the body.

  • Model how to use and navigate the provided links from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the top of the project builder: 
      • E. coli, Botulism, Measles, Giardia, Valley Fever and Ringworm
      • Students will likely be able to get all of the information they need from the CDC, but, if needed, they can conduct further online research via the sites listed in the Resources section.
      • Encourage students not to dive too deeply into other online resources and limit their research to what they need to understand in order to decide if the microbe should be eradicated and create a PSA in support of their argument.
      • As needed, provide instruction about effective online research and online literacy.
  • Circulate to support students’ research process and use of Part A of the project builder.
  • As students finish up their parts of the research, direct them to convene with their groups and share information.


3. 
Prompt groups to develop an evidence-based argument about the importance of eradication importance of their microbe.

  • Students should follow the steps in Part B of the PSA Project Builder to develop their argument, drawing on their understanding of the body as a complex system.
  • Circulate to help students develop their argument. Push their thinking by asking:
      • Can you tell me more about that?
      • Can you say more about what is happening inside the body that we can’t see?
      • What level of the body is being impacted by the microbe?
      • How does understanding your microbe’s impact on the body help to demonstrate that the body is a complex system?
  • If different groups are working on the same microbe, consider having them convene to share their arguments. Encourage them to ask clarifying questions and press on other groups’ thinking.

Informal Assessment

The Misunderstood Microbes PSA Project Builder can be used to assess group progress on their project work, as well as their understanding of their microbe. For individual-level assessment, at the end of the activity prompt students to complete a quick write in response to the following question: 

Explain one way that your microbe impacts the human body at different levels of organization. Use at least two of the following terms in your explanation: cells, tissues, organ, system.

2 hrs

Students continue to collaborate in small groups to produce their public service announcement (PSA) on their focal microbe. They create a storyboard for their PSA, drawing from their analysis of design features and effectiveness of PSAs from the previous lesson, and research and evidenced-based argument from the Research a Microbe and Develop an Argument about its Eradication activity. Groups then use digital or other tools to create the PSA itself and receive feedback from another group to help strengthen their product.

DIRECTIONS


This activity is a part of the Misunderstood Microbes unit. 

1. Project groups determine the key design features for their PSA.

  • Review the design features in Misunderstood Microbes: PSA Rubric so students can ensure that their PSA will meet the project and assessment goals.
  • Direct students to revisit the design squares on the PSA Design Analyzer from the Microbes in and on Humans lesson, on which they recorded notes about the design elements of the sample PSAs.
  • In their project groups, students should discuss their ideas about the key design features of the sample PSAs. Prompt groups to record the elements that they agree should be part of their PSA in the blank design square on Part C of the Misunderstood Microbes PSA Project Builder.
  • As groups discuss, circulate to help them come to a consensus. Emphasize that the notes that go in the square should relate to the design of the PSA, rather than the content (which will be addressed in Step 2).


2. Project groups determine which information to include in their PSA.

  • After groups decide on the design elements for their PSA, they should use the Storyboard Template in Part C of their project builder to compile the key information, timing, text/audio, and visuals for each section of their PSA.
  • Review each group’s storyboard before they move on to the creation of their PSA.


3. Project groups collaborate to create their PSA.

  • Encourage group members to take on different roles as they create their PSA. Roles can include fact checker, actor/narrator, video producer, animator/illustrator.
  • Given the limited time that students have to create their PSA, emphasize execution over perfection. Ensure that they address each part of the storyboard to create a narrative arc that fits the PSA genre.
  • Introduce and provide access to the options available to students for creating their PSA, including but not limited to: online animation tools, short live action films, a visual poster, or collaborative presentation.  


4. Focus group feedback and finalize PSAs.

  • Provide time for groups to share their PSA with a “focus group” who can provide feedback on the clarity of their message.
  • The PSA Rubric can be used to evaluate the PSA at this time.
  • Give groups time to edit, revise, or polish their PSA.

Informal Assessment

Part C of the Misunderstood Microbes Project Builder can be used to assess group progress on PSA creation, as well as their understanding of their microbe. Consider providing students with a collaboration rubric (such as this one from the Buck Institute for Education), to assess themselves and/or peers on their collaboration skills.

1 hr

This is the culminating activity in the Misunderstood Microbes unit. Students finalize and present their public service announcement (PSA), which introduces a particular microbe to their community and an evidence-based argument regarding the value of eradicating the microbe. The audience members will provide written feedback to each group, which can be incorporated into assessments of their work. Finally, students individually reflect on their learning.

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare for PSA presentations.

  • Provide time for groups to finalize their PSAs.
  • Explain the presentation format, which will vary depending on the type of PSA (online, poster, etc.), school context, audience, and venue for presentations.
      • Technology: Any technology involved in the PSA presentations (such as audio systems or projectors) should be tested by student groups ahead of time.
      • Student introductions: Even if the PSAs are digital, remind students to introduce themselves and their microbe before showing their PSA, and take questions from the audience after.


2. 
Facilitate PSA presentations.

  • Welcome additional audience members and pass out copies of the Misunderstood Microbes PSA Presentation Audience Feedback form.
  • After each group presentation, model how to ask appropriate questions that press the presenters’ understanding about their microbe, particularly around how the microbe interacts with the systems of the human body.
  • Prompt audience members to also ask questions.


3. 
Reflect on the Misunderstood Microbes unit.

  • Collectively revisit the class Know and Need to Know chart; students can likely now answer many of the questions that they had at the beginning of the unit.
  • Ask students to respond individually to some of the following prompts:
      • What will you remember about creating your PSA? Why?
      • What would you change about this unit and the project? What would you keep the same?
      • How was your experience of working with your group in this unit?
      • How did your group work well together? What could your group have done better?
      • What is the most important thing you learned during the Misunderstood Microbes unit?
  • Use a collaboration rubric (such as this one from the Buck Institute for Education) for students to assess themselves and/or peers on their collaboration skills.

Rubric

Use the PSA Rubric to assess students’ understanding of the key concepts of the Misunderstood Microbes unit via their group’s PSA and presentations. Additionally, the audience feedback forms, student responses to the final reflection questions, and/or the collaboration rubric can all be used to inform your final assessment of each student’s individual understanding and contribution to the project.

Extending the Learning

To further the impacts of PSAs, consider having groups present their PSA to a relevant audience in the community (such as food prep workers for E. coli/botulism, parents for measles, lifeguards for Giardia). Another option is to digitally record and upload their PSAs onto an internet platform to share their messages with a wider audience.

Informal Assessment

Group PSAs and presentations can be used to assess student understanding of the key concepts of the Misunderstood Microbes unit. Additionally, the audience feedback forms, student responses to the final reflection questions, and/or the collaboration rubric, can all be used to inform final assessment of each student’s individual understanding and contribution to the project.

Subjects & Disciplines

  • Biology
    • Health

Objectives

Students will:

  • Collaborate to create a PSA about their group’s microbe and the importance of its eradication.
  • Reflect on their process of learning and collaborating during the Misunderstood Microbes unit.
  • Evaluate and provide feedback on the arguments made by their peers.
  • Present their PSAs on a particular microbe and the value of its eradication.
  • Collaborate to create a PSA about their group’s microbe and the importance of its eradication.
  • Decide on the key features of a successful PSA.
  • Collaborate to develop an evidence-based argument about the importance of eradication for the microbe.
  • Conduct research to learn more about a particular type of microbe that has impacts on humans.

Teaching Approach

  • Project-based learning

Teaching Methods

  • Cooperative learning
  • Discussions
  • Reflection
  • Research
  • Writing

Skills Summary

This lesson targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.4: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.5: Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1.b: Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. WHST.6-8.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12: Production and Distribution of Writing, WHST.6-8.5. Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12: Production and Distribution of Writing, WHST.6-8.6.Next Generation Science Standards Crosscutting Concept 2: Cause and Effect  Crosscutting Concept 4: Systems and system models LS1.A: Structure and Function: In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems. These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions. MS. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes: MS-LS1-3.Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells. Science and Engineering Practice 7: Engaging in argument from evidence Science and Engineering Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

What You’ll Need

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required
  • Internet access: Required
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, 1 computer per pair, Monitor/screen, Printer, Projector

Physical Space

  • Classroom
  • Meeting space

Setup

Depending on the options available to students for creating their PSA (including, but not limited to: online animation tools used in the example PSAs shown throughout the Microbes in and On Humans lesson, short live action films, a visual poster, or collaborative presentation), have the appropriate tools available.

Make the context for the final PSA presentations fun and engaging for students and audience members. Celebrate the completion of the Misunderstood Microbes unit!

Before class, determine the project groups of three to four students by using students’ rankings of the microbe choices from the Harmful Microbes activity, aiming to assign them to their first or second choice. Alternatively, you can let students choose their own groups. Students will work in these teams for the rest of the Misunderstood Microbes unit.

Review the Misunderstood Microbes PSA Project Builder so you are prepared to support students as they conduct research on their microbe and develop their argument regarding the value of eradication for their focal microbe.

So that you can share with students in Step 1, decide on the options for how they will create their PSAs. These could include some of the animation tools used in the sample PSAs shown throughout Lesson 2, creating short live action films, a visual poster, or collaborative presentation. Leverage resources available at your school, as well as students’ interests and expertise where possible.

Additionally, consider how to provide an authentic context and audience for the final PSA presentations during Lesson 3. Some factors to consider:

  • Time of day: Can the presentations be held after school or in the evening so that community members and/or relevant experts may attend?
  • Audience: Who is an authentic audience for students’ presentations (e.g., food prep workers for E. coli and Clostridium botulinum, parents for measles, lifeguards for Giardia)? Is it feasible to invite community groups, public health experts, and/or families and siblings?
  • Venue: Is there a space outside of the classroom or school in which students could present their PSAs, to promote their message and community dialogue?

Grouping

  • Large-group learning
  • Small-group learning
  • Small-group work

Accessibility Notes

  • None

Background Information

Microbes are organisms that are too small to be seen by the human eye and include bacteria, archaea, protists, viruses, and fungi. Although some microbes cause disease, they are also crucial to the functioning of human bodies through processes such as digestion and aiding the immune system. The microbes found on a person’s body are collectively known as a person’s microbiome, especially those found in body organs and systems such as their skin, hair, and digestive system.  

 

Most of microbes’ interactions with humans are neutral or beneficial. However, they also can make us sick by acting as infectious agents. Microbes can cause disease through a variety of body organs and systems, which has cascading effects throughout the whole system and human body. Depending on the nature of their impacts on humans, the importance of eradicating particular microbes may vary.

 

Public service announcements (PSAs) are a way to communicate important information (often about a social issue or health concern) to a broad audience. A successful PSA is short, engaging, and contains a persuasive message for the viewer to act on in their everyday lives.

 

This lesson is a part of the Misunderstood Microbes unit.

Prior Knowledge

  • Relationship between structure and function
  • Human body organization as complex system
  • Systems thinking
  • Cause and effect

Recommended Prior Lessons

Vocabulary