Emerging & Re-emerging Infectiious Diseases
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Implementing the Module

The five activities in this module are designed to be taught either in sequence, as a supplement to your standard curriculum, or as individual activities that support or enhance your treatment of specific concepts in biology. The following pages offer general suggestions about using these materials in the classroom; you will find specific suggestions in the support material provided for each activity.

Goals for the Module

Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases is designed to help students develop the following major goals associated with biological literacy: (1) to understand a set of basic scientific principles related to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, (2) to experience the process of inquiry and develop an enhanced understanding of the nature and methods of science, and (3) to recognize the role of science in society and the relationship between basic science and personal and public health.

Conceptual Organization of the Activities

We have organized the activities to form a conceptual whole that moves students from an introduction to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (Deadly Disease Among Us), to an investigation of some of the causes for the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases (Disease Detectives, Superbugs: An Evolving Concern, and Protecting the Herd), to a discussion of how people make decisions about allocating funds to combat infectious diseases (Making Hard Decisions). Figure 10 illustrates the sequence of major concepts addressed by the five activities.

Figure 10 - Conceptual flow of the activities.
Activity Major Concept
Activity 1
Deadly Disease Among Us
Infectious diseases continue to be a major cause of human suffering and death, both in the United States and around the world. Emerging infectious diseases are diseases that have not occurred in humans before or that occurred only in small numbers in isolated places. Re-emerging infectious diseases are diseases that once were major health problems globally or in a particular country, and then declined dramatically, but are again becoming health problems for a significant proportion of the population.
Activity 2
Disease Detectives
A major cause of the emergence of new diseases is environmental change (for example, human encroachment into wilderness areas and increased human traffic through previously isolated areas).
Activity 3
Superbugs: An Evolving Concern
The re-emergence of some diseases can be explained by evolution of the infectious agent (for example, mutations in bacterial genes that confer resistance to antibiotics used to treat the diseases).
Activity 4
Protecting the Herd
The re-emergence of some diseases can be explained by the failure to immunize enough individuals, which results in a greater proportion of susceptible individuals in a population and an increased reservoir of the infectious agent. Increases in the number of individuals with compromised immune systems (due to the stress of famine, war, crowding, or disease) also explain increases in the incidence of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
Activity 5
Making Hard Decisions
Infectious diseases have a devastating impact nationally and globally, but a variety of strategies can alleviate suffering due to these diseases. Because resources are limited, allocating funds among projects that address different diseases raises complex ethical questions. Understanding the relevant biological principles can help in making these difficult decisions.

Although we encourage you to use the activities in the sequence outlined in Figure 10, many of the activities can be taught individually, to replace or enhance a more traditional approach to the same or related content. Figure 11 provides recommendations for inserting the activities into a standard high school curriculum in biology.

Correlation to the National Science Education Standards

Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases supports teachers in their efforts to reform science education in the spirit of the National Research Council's 1996 National Science Education Standards (NSES). Figure 12 lists the specific content and teaching standards that this module primarily addresses.

Active, Collaborative, and Inquiry-Based Learning

The activities in this module are designed to offer students the opportunity to participate in active, collaborative, and inquiry-based learning in biology. But what do these terms mean? Despite their current popularity, many teachers think of active, collaborative, and inquiry-based learning rather generically. Defining these three key terms more specifically will provide a foundation on which we can build a detailed description of the instructional approach that the five activities in this module advocate and implement.

Figure 11 - Correlation between activities and standard curricula*.
Topic Module Activity Biology Textbook** Chapter
1 2 3 4 5 DOL AEE LS Blue Green Human VL P & E Modern TLS
infectious diseases (causes) . . . . . 18, 21, 22, 23, 42 4, 5, 12 15 20 11 2 18, 19, 20, 25 20, 21 24, 25, 26, 28, 48 40
society and infectious diseases   . . . . 42 - 15, 23 - - - - 20 48, 53 21
antibiotics and antibiotic resistance     .   . 21, 42 4, 18 - 16 - 2 18 20 24, 25, 28 21
natural selection     .   . 18 29 12,13 1, 16 9 2 10 12 15, 16 10
vaccination       . . 42 4 23 20 11 6, essay 18, 33 10, 39 48 40
*The table indicates where topics addressed in the module are covered in a variety of current high school textbooks.
**DOL = Biology: The Dynamics of Life (Glencoe)
AEE = Biology: An Everyday Experience (Glencoe)
LS = Biology: Living Systems (Glencoe)
Blue = BSCS Biology: A Molecular Approach (D.C. Heath and Co./McDougal-Littel)
Green = BSCS Biology: An Ecological Approach (Kendall/Hunt)
Human = BSCS Biology: A Human Approach (Kendall/Hunt)
VL = Biology: Visualizing Life (Holt, Rinehart, Winston)
P & E = Biology: Principles & Explorations (Holt, Rinehart, Winston)
Modern = Modern Biology (Holt, Rinehart, Winston)
TLS = Biology: The Living Science (Prentice Hall)

 

Figure 12 - Correlation to the National Science Education Standards.
The Content Standards
Standard A: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry and understandings about scientific inquiry. Correlation to Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
. Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations. Activities 2 and 3
. Design and conduct scientific investigations. Activity 3
. Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications. Activity 4
. Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence. Activities 2, 3, and 4
. Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models. Activities 2, 3, and 4
. Communicate and defend a scientific argument. Activities 4 and 5
. Understandings about scientific inquiry. Activities 2, 3, and 4
Standard C: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students Correlation to Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
should develop understanding of the molecular basis of heredity.
. In all organisms, the instructions for specifying the characteristics of the organism are carried in DNA . . . Activity 3
. Changes in DNA (mutations) occur spontaneously at low rates. Activity 3
should develop understanding of biological evolution.
. Species evolve over time. Activity 3
should develop understanding of the interdependence of organisms.
. Human beings live within the world's ecosystems. Activity 2
Standard E: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students Correlation to Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
should develop abilities of technological design and understandings about science and technology.
. Scientists in different disciplines ask different questions, use different methods of investigation, and accept different types of evidence to support their explanations. Activity 2
. Science often advances with the introduction of new technologies. Activity 5
. Creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are all required in the work of science and engineering. Activities 1-5
. Science and technology are pursued for different purposes. Activities 1-5
Standard F: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of Correlation to Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
. personal and community health. Activities 1-5
. natural and human-induced hazards. Activities 1-5
. science and technology in local, national, and global challenges. Activity 5
Standard G: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of Correlation to Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
. science as a human endeavor. Activities 2 and 5
. nature of scientific knowledge. Activities 3, 4, and 5
. historical perspectives. Activity 1

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