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Using the Web Site

The Web site for Rare Diseases and Scientific Inquiry can help you organize your use of the supplement, engage student interest in learning, and orchestrate and individualize instruction as learning is taking place. Lessons 2, 3, 4, and 5 have activities on the Web site for classrooms with online access. To access the site, go to http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/rarediseases.

Under “Web Portion of Student Activities,” click on the link to a specific lesson. (If your classes don’t have access to the site, you can use the print alternatives included with the lessons.)

Hardware and Software Requirements

The Web site can be accessed with any computer browser. To experience full functionality of the site, Adobe Flash Player must be installed on the hard drive of each computer that will access the site (available for free at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/).

Collaborative Groups

We designed all the activities in this supplement to be completed by teams of students working together. Although individual students working alone can complete many of the steps, this strategy will not stimulate the types of student-student interactions that are part of active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning. Therefore, we recommend that you organize collaborative groups of two to four students each, depending on the number of computers available. Students in groups larger than this will have difficulty organizing student-computer interactions equitably. This can lead to one or two students assuming the primary responsibility for the computer-based work. Although large groups can be efficient, they do not allow all students to experience the in-depth discovery and analysis that the Web site was designed to stimulate. Group members not involved directly may become bored or lose interest.

We recommend that you keep students in the same collaborative groups for all the activities in the lessons. This will allow each group to develop a shared experience with the Web site and with the ideas and issues the activities present. A shared experience will also enhance your students’ perceptions of the lesson as a conceptual whole.

If your student-to-computer ratio is greater than four to one, you will need to change the way you teach the supplement from the instructions in the lessons.

Web Materials for People with Disabilities

The Office of Science Education (OSE) provides access to the Curriculum Supplement Series for people with disabilities. The online versions of this series comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you use assistive technology (such as a Braille or screen reader) and have trouble accessing any materials on our Web site, please let us know. We will need a description of the problem, the format in which you would like to receive the material, the URL of the requested material, and your contact information.

Contact us at

Curriculum Supplement Series
Office of Science Education
National Institutes of Health
6100 Executive Boulevard
Suite 3E01, MSC7520
Bethesda, MD 20892-7520

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