In this unit, students engage in a variety of activities to learn how the human body is organized into systems and some of the microbial organisms that live there, with an emphasis on the idea that microbes can be helpful and harmful. They then leverage their understanding to create a public service announcement (PSA) that will inform their community about the biology, risks, and possible benefits of a specific microbe. Their PSA will include an evidence-based argument regarding the value of eradicating the microbe.

 

Use this unit at a glance to explore a brief outline of the materials included in this resource.

 

Unit Driving Question: Which microbes should we protect or eradicate to keep our bodies healthy?

4 hrs

In this series of activities, students are introduced to the main types of microbes, scientific classification, how scientists organize living organisms, and the organization of the human body.

4 hrs

Through the lens of human body system organization, students learn how microbes can be helpful or harmful to humans. In this series of activities, students engage in jigsaw reading activities and with online interactives, videos, and an infographic. They keep track of their ideas in order to reflect on their understanding over time. Students also analyze the design features of six public service announcements (PSAs) as they prepare to create their own PSA in a later lesson.

5 hrs

Students collaborate to create and present their own public service announcement (PSA) that introduces a particular microbe to their community, including an evidence-based argument regarding the value of eradicating the microbe.

algae
Plural Noun

(singular: alga) diverse group of aquatic organisms, the largest of which are seaweeds.

allergen
Noun

substance (such as pollen) that induces a negative bodily reaction, such as sneezing, wheezing, itching, or difficulty breathing.

allergic
Adjective

having a consistent, unusual, negative reaction to a substance.

allergy
Noun

sensitivity to a specific substance (such as pollen) which causes a negative bodily reaction, such as sneezing, wheezing, itching or difficulty breathing.

anatomical features
Noun

structure, form, or appearance of features relating to the body structure of organisms.

Plural Noun

(singular: bacterium) single-celled organisms found in every ecosystem on Earth.

cell
Noun

smallest working part of a living organism.

digestive system
Noun

series of organs and glands responsible for the ingestion, digestion, and absorption of food. Also called the alimentary canal.

disease
Noun

harmful condition of a body part or organ.

Noun

community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

electron microscope
Noun

powerful device that uses electrons, not light, to magnify an image.

eradicate
Verb

to destroy or remove.

eradication
Noun

total destruction.

eukaryotic
Adjective

relating to organisms whose cells have a nuceleus.

foodborne
Adjective

caused by food contaminated with disease-causing germs or toxic substances.

function
Verb

to work or work correctly.

fungi
Plural Noun

(singular: fungus) organisms that survive by decomposing and absorbing nutrients in organic material such as soil or dead organisms.

genus
Noun

taxonomic category of structurally or phylogenetically related species.

immune system
Noun

network of chemicals and organs that protects the body from disease.

implication
Noun

suggestion or hint.

infectious agent
Noun

something (such as a bacterium or virus) that causes disease; also referred to as a pathogen.

inform
Verb

to provide knowledge.

ingestion
Noun

the act of eating or consuming.

integumentary system
Noun

set of organs that form the external covering of the body and protects it from many threats such as infection (in humans, this includes skin).

interaction
Noun

relationship between two or more forces, objects, or organisms.

Linnaean classification
Noun

grouping based on physical and genetic characteristics following the methods of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.

magnification
Noun

measurement of how enlarged an image is

microbe
Noun

tiny organism, usually a bacterium.

microbiology
Noun

study of the structure, function, and behavior of microscopic organisms.

microbiome
Noun

microorganisms and genetic material present in or on a specific environment.

multicellular
Adjective

composed of more than one cell.

nervous system
Noun

cells, organs, and tissues including the brain and spine that respond to internal and external stimuli.

organ
Noun

group of tissues that perform a specialized task.

organelle
Noun

specialized part of a cell that performs a specific function.

organism
Noun

living or once-living thing.

pathogen
Noun

organism that causes a disease, such as a virus.

persuade
Noun

to convince someone to do or believe something through reasoning or argumentation.

Noun

process by which plants turn water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into water, oxygen, and simple sugars.

prokaryotic
Adjective

relating to organisms whose cells have no distinct nucleus.

protozoa
Noun

one-celled organisms in the kingdom protista, such as amoebas. (singular: protozoan)

respiratory system
Noun

system where oxygen is taken into the body and an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place; in humans consisting especially of the nose and lungs.

scale
Noun

distinctive relative size, extent, or degree.

single-celled
Adjective

having or consisting of a single cell (also referred to as unicellular).

species
Noun

group of similar organisms that can reproduce with each other.

structure
Noun

system of organization.

subsystem
Noun

system that is part of a larger system.

symptom
Noun

sign or indication of something.

system
Noun

collection of items or organisms that are linked and related, functioning as a whole.

tissue
Noun

cells that form a specific function in a living organism.

transmit
Verb

to pass along information or communicate.

unicellular
Adjective

having one cell.

vector
Noun

animal that transmits a disease from one organism to another.