Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year AND welcome to AUGS!!!
I'm Mrs. Regan the science teacher for 6th Grade team Titan
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What’s in This Unit?
Through inhabiting the role of medical students in a hospital, students—as they first diagnose a patient and then analyze the metabolism of world-class athletes—are able to draw the connections between the large-scale, macro-level experiences of the body and the micro-level processes that make the body function. By investigating the anchor phenomenon—a patient whose body systems are not working properly, students learn how body systems work together to provide the trillions of cells in the human body with the molecules they need. By exploring how athletic training improves the body’s function, students learn how energy is released in the cells through cellular respiration and how that energy supports movement and cellular growth and repair. In the final chapter of the unit, your students will consider a new anchor phenomenon to apply what they have learned to determine whether an athlete’s improved performance from increasing cellular respiration could have been the result of blood doping.
This unit has been designed to connect ideas about the human body that have often been taught in isolation from one another. In a typical curriculum, students may learn about the parts of the cell in one unit, cellular respiration in another, and body systems many months later. As a result, students are not guided to draw connections between these concepts, or to connect the abstract concepts to their actual experiences with their own bodies. They are also never provided the experience of connecting microscopic processes (how molecules from the environment are broken down and enter the cells to produce energy and to aid in cellular growth and repair) to the macro-level functions of the body systems and our overall health. We chose the medical student role because it provides a compelling and accessible context for connecting ideas about cells, body systems, molecules, and energy with phenomena that students are likely to be familiar with in their own bodies. This unit builds on students’ interest in and awareness of problems like asthma and diabetes, as well as an interest in how the bodies of athletes who are competing at their peak of performance can function so well.
Chapters 1 and 2 focus on how body systems work together to take molecules from the environment and get them, in usable form, to the cells. Students are presented with the challenge of helping diagnose a teenage patient, Elisa, who feels tired all the time. Through exploring the Metabolism Simulation, reading about different medical conditions, and participating in a classroom-sized model of the body, students learn that in a functioning body the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems work together to get glucose, oxygen, and amino acids to the cells. By the end of Chapter 2, students diagnose Elisa with diabetes and are able to explain how this condition affects her body systems and the molecules that get to her cells.
In Chapter 3, students learn more about what the cells do with these molecules. They explore the effects of activity on their own bodies and in the Simulation, and are then introduced to cellular respiration, the chemical reaction that releases energy in the cells. Students learn that the energy released in cellular respiration also supports growth and repair at the cellular level. Students shift their focus to considering cellular respiration in the context of high-performance athletes and read an article about a controversial practice called blood doping, which is used to enhance athletic performance. They apply what they have learned as they prepare to participate in a whole-class discussion and debate routine called a Science Seminar. Then, in Chapter 4, to prepare for the Science Seminar, students analyze evidence to determine if an athlete increased his cellular respiration and improved his athletic performance through permitted methods.
This year we will be covering some really cool topics, check it out!
Microbiomes: YOU will take on the role of student researchers at the Microbiome research Institute, investigating how a fecal transplant can cure a sick person.
Metabolism: YOU will take on the role of a medical student in a hospital where you will diagnose a patient with a potentially serious disease. We will follow this unit with an engineering internship, in which YOU will take on the role of a food engineer intern to design a nutritional supplement that could save lives during a natural disaster.
Traits and Reproduction: YOU will take on the role of a student genetic researcher to attempt to breed spiders with a type of silk that can be used for medical applications.
Thermal Energy: YOU will take on the role of a student thermal scientist, you will work with a fictional middle school principal to choose a new heating system for a school.
Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate: YOU will take on the role of student climatologists, investigating the effects of climate change in a town in New Zealand, during the El Nino years.
Weather Patterns: YOU will take on the role of forensic meteorologists investigating how water vapor temperature and air pressure affect rainfall.
Earth’s Changing Climate: YOU will take on the role of student climatologists in order to understand what causes climate change. We will follow this unit with an engineering internship, in which YOU will take on the role of a civil engineer intern, in order to create roof modification designs for a city in the desert.