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Using the Student Lessons

The heart of Rare Diseases and Scientific Inquiry is a set of five classroom lessons that allow students to discover important concepts related to rare diseases and scientific inquiry. To review these concepts in detail, refer to the Science Content and Conceptual Flow of the Lessons chart (Table 3).

Format of the Lessons

As you review the lessons, you will find that each contains several major features.

At a Glance summarizes the lessons with these sections:

  • Overview: Provides a short summary of student activities.
  • Major Concepts: Lists the central ideas the lesson is designed to convey.
  • Objectives: Lists specific understandings or abilities students should have after completing the lesson.
  • Teacher Background: Specifies which portions of the background section, Information about Rare Diseases and Scientific Inquiry, relate directly to the lesson. We do not intend for this reading material to form the basis of lectures to students, nor do we intend it to be a direct resource for students. Rather, it enhances your understanding of the content so that you can facilitate class discussions, answer student questions, and provide additional examples.

In Advance provides lists of items and preparations needed for the activities:

  • Web-Based Activities: Tells you which of the lessonís activities use the Rare Diseases and Scientific Inquiry Web site as the basis for instruction.
  • Photocopies: Lists the paper copies and overhead transparencies that you need to make from the masters provided at the end of the supplement.
  • Materials: Lists all the materials other than photocopies that you need for each activity in the lesson.
  • Preparation: Outlines what you need to do to be ready to teach the activities.

Procedure outlines the steps in each activity and provides implementation hints and answers to discussion questions.

The Lesson Organizer briefly summarizes the lesson. It outlines procedural steps for each activity and includes icons that notify you when masters, transparencies, and the Web site are used. You should use the lesson organizer only after you become familiar with the detailed procedures for the activities. It can be a handy resource during lesson preparation as well as during classroom instruction.

The Masters to be photocopied (student worksheets and reference materials) are at the back of the supplement.

Icons appear throughout the lessons. They alert you to teaching aids that can help you implement the activities and enrich student learning.

Logo1.eps Indicates steps that you can use as assessments, including informal indicators of student understanding and the final assessment at the end of each lesson.
Logo4.eps Identifies teaching strategies that address specific science content standards as defined by the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996).
Logo3.eps Shows when to use the Web site as part of the teaching strategy. A print-based alternative to each Web-based activity is provided for classrooms that don't have Internet access.
Logo5.eps Identifies a print-based alternative to a Web-based activity.
Logo2.eps Identifies suggestions from field-test teachers for teaching strategies, classroom management, and supplement implementation.

Timeline for Teaching the Supplement

The timeline below (Table 8) outlines the optimal plan for completing the five lessons. It assumes you will teach the activities on consecutive days of 50-minute class periods. If your class requires more time for discussing issues raised in this supplement or for completing activities, adjust your timeline accordingly.

Table 8. Suggested Timeline


Timeline Activity
3 weeks ahead Reserve computers.
Check performance of Web site.
7 days ahead Make photocopies and transparencies.
Gather materials.
School day 1 Lesson 1
Activity 1: What Is a Rare Disease?
School day 2 Lesson 2
Activity 1: Causes of Disease
Activity 2: Is a Rare Disease Present?
School day 3 Lesson 2
Activity 2: Is a Rare Disease Present?
Activity 3: How Rare Is Rare?
School day 4 Lesson 3
Activity 1: A Parent's Dilemma
Activity 2: Connective Tissue
School day 5 Lesson 3
Activity 3: A Common Thread
School day 6 Lesson 4
Activity 1: An Unwelcome Diagnosis
School day 7 Lesson 4
Activity 1: An Unwelcome Diagnosis (conclude)
School day 8 Lesson 4
Activity 2: Clinical Trials
School day 9 Lesson 5
Activity 1: Creating an Informational Poster
School day 10 Lesson 5
Activity 2: Reflecting on Rare Diseases

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