Saturday, February 18, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Cassandra Bonvissuto, Poland Seminary High School, Poland, OH
Immunology to high school students usually only goes needle deep by touching on the basics of vaccination, autoimmune disorders, and immunodeficiencies during the topics of heredity, cell differentiation, and sexually transmitted diseases in Biology and Health class. With mandatory state testing over specific content standards in Biology that cover a large range of topics, there is little time to cover detailed immunological processes that help your body maintain homeostasis and fight infection. As such, students are unaware of how their immune system actually functions to protect us and regulate many biological processes. In order to bring this interesting and useful topic into the classroom, I have developed this unit of instruction to introduce my Biotechnology students to the basics of the immune system. This unit will build up their prior knowledge and deepen learning by incorporating a variety of inquiry activities and immunological laboratory techniques. Students will research and present a specific immune cell to the class to show how there is a wide variety of cell differentiation within our immune system. They will review a scientific journal article on vaccinations to learn about recent advances in this area of immunology, how it affects our immune response and how we are responding to health concerns regarding vaccination methods. Students will use this new knowledge to collect and analyze data from an ELISA assay to test for immune response to varying levels of adjuvant added to vaccinations. Sexually transmitted diseases and immunodeficiencies will be looked at in further immunological detail by analyzing and graphing cell sample data from simulated patient white blood cell counts by flow cytometry to determine correct diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. Students will also learn about and run antibiotic resistance and ouchterlony assays to deepen their knowledge about the immune system. At the culmination of the unit of instruction, the students will take a summative assessment to prove their knowledge of immune system basics and their ability to apply their lab skills to various real life scenarios in order to draw accurate/valid conclusions. The goal of this unit of instruction is to introduce high school students to the exciting, interesting, and intricate field of immunology and peak their interest in scientific inquiry.