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Invasion of the Germs: We Fight Back!

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Keywords: Technology, Germs
Subject(s): Health and PE, Video, Technology, Podcasting, Animation, English/Language Arts, Science
Grades 3 through 4
School: Lynwood Elementary School, Indianapolis, IN
Planned By: Jean Trusedell
Original Author: Jean Trusedell, Indianapolis
This project integrates many educational objectives in an authentic and urgent setting. Students will act as scientists who are exploring ways to kill germs and help other younger students understand how germs are spread and how to keep from getting sick. Students will make comparisons with other students to see where they can find germs in our schools. They will use the digital microscope to count colonies of germs to share, interpret and graph the data. After the students have found the germ havens, our students and teachers will learn how to create clay animation projects which will be hosted on the school and class web pages. Students will write scripts describing where germs live and how we can protect our bodies from infection. This script will be used in two ways. First, it will underscore the video of the clay animation and secondly, it will be used to create a podcast for younger students. Students will learn the connection between education and the real world and how positive health decisions can impact their lives. This project will increase their self-esteem by making them a part of a project that impacts our community and save our students from sickness and possibly even worse.
This project is cross-curricular and integrates technology into Science, Health, Math and Language Arts. Because the use of technology is a standard that all students must master to be successful in the 21st century, we are following the National Educational Technology Standards. Students will use technology tools for individual communication and publishing through their presentations. They will also use the computers for problem solving utilizing graphing data as stated in the Indiana Math Standard- 4.6.2. Students will use scientific investigation and the use of scientific tools (Indiana Science Standard 4.4.1, 4.4.7) to interpret data and make new learning connections using the digital microscopes to view the germ samples. Students use Science Standards 4.4.10 and Health Standards 4.3.4, 4.3.5- to make important personal reflections about hygiene and how to improve personal habits which will impact their lives. Students will use the “Germ Glo” disclosure lotion to make important discoveries about washing their hands. A further investigation will involve contrasting washing hands and hand sanitizers to see how well each method cleans. Finally, students will share their investigations and oral presentations that utilize Indiana Language Arts standards 4.7.5, 4.7.6, 4.7.7, 4.7.9. and their Clay animation project using Media Blender Software.
Each of the student tasks will be evaluated by specific rubrics. The procedure portion of the project will be evaluated to measure the students writing skills as well as their ability to analyze information and synthesize that information into a logical conclusion. The evaluation will include the students demonstrating their understanding of how germs attack and how the body has natural defenses that can protect the health of the organism. Through inquiry, the students will discuss with their teams the different ways that the germs destroy healthy cells. Then through collaborative discussions, they will create a way of killing the germ without hurting the healthy cells. The clay animation will be evaluated both for content and technology skills. Through the project, we will be able to assess student understanding of how diseases are spread and how to improve their personal immune system.

This plan will benefit the students who initially participate in this unit, but this funding will also impact learning for years to come. Staff development is an integral part of this unit to help our teachers explore the possibilities of Problem-based Learning. We will model effective teaching strategies to implement 21st century skills using the digital tools that will be so vital to the future success of our students. With these skills, our goal is for students to be more engaged and critical thinkers and our teachers to feel comfortable taking risks.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Our students will see an authentic application of Science, Math and Language Arts and what better vehicle than using a current situation such as the H1N1 immunization. These rigorous, academic processes that our students will perform will help them think creatively instead of constantly asking for “the right answer”. This program involves total artistic creativity while serving an important service to our school and community by creating and presenting vital health information.
Through this project or students will be creating podcasts and public service announcements through the clay animation that will be used throughout our disctrict to help our children stay healthy not only through this H1N1 crisis but throughout their lives.
Links: School web page resource
Materials: Flip Video, Digital Cameras, Projectors, Networked Projectors, Microphones, Video Tools, Microscopes, Hard Drives, LCD Monitors, Elementary, Podcasting, Keyboarding, Web Page, Worksheets, Animation, Internet Services, Prof. Dev. Workshops, Integrating Technology