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The Science Of HIVThe-Science-Of-HIV

  • Subject:
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
  • |
  • Duration: Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will understand the following:
1. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) decreases the body's ability to fight infection and suppress multiplication of abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.
2. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS.
3. HIV is transmitted sexually, by contaminated blood, or via the placenta to the fetus of an infected mother.
4. While there are new and improved treatments for HIV, there is no cure, and, because of the nature of the virus, developing a preventive vaccine is problematic.
5. Unprotected sex is the most common means of HIV infection.
6. Teens are especially vulnerable to the AIDS epidemic and are, in fact, being infected at the alarming rate of one every hour.
7. An effective way of preventing the spread of AIDS is through education in the form of community awareness campaigns.

Materials


For this lesson, you will need:
Research materials on viruses
Computer with Internet access

Procedures


1. Invite your students to discuss what they know about HIV and AIDS. The discussion should bring out the following facts:
  1. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) decreases the body's ability to fight infection and suppress multiplication of abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.
  2. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS.
  3. HIV is transmitted sexually, by contaminated blood, or via the placenta to the fetus of an infected mother.
  4. While there are new and improved treatments for HIV, there is no cure, and because of the nature of the virus, developing a preventive vaccine is problematic.
  5. Unprotected sex is the most common means of HIV infection.
  6. Teens are especially vulnerable to the AIDS epidemic and are, in fact, being infected at the alarming rate of one every hour.
2. If students appear uninformed about AIDS, HIV, or the way HIV spreads, direct them to the Internet and other resource materials to become better acquainted with the salient facts.
3. Continue your class discussion by asking students to suggest ways of convincing teens of the seriousness of AIDS and the need to protect themselves.
4. Divide the class into groups, and have each group develop plans for a community awareness campaign that specifically targets teens. Students might design posters or advertisements, write speeches or rap songs, or come up with their own methods for delivering the message.

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Adaptations


Younger students may lack the emotional maturity for this activity. They might benefit, rather, from the extension activity "Create a Model," in which they will learn how a virus invades a cell and how the immune system then responds.

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Discussion Questions


1. Based on the description in the video, explain to another student in your own words how a virus works.
2. How does HIV cause harm to the person infected?
3. Discuss AIDS as a worldwide epidemic. How is it similar to or different from past epidemics such as influenza, smallpox, or polio?
4. How are scientists working to slow the spread of HIV and end the AIDS epidemic?
5. What are some of the difficulties people with AIDS face?
6. What are some ways science can help people with AIDS?
7. How can an individual reduce his risk of becoming infected with HIV?

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Evaluation


You can evaluate your students on their campaign plans by using the following three-point rubric:
 
Three points: campaign well planned, convincing, and designed to target teens in particular
 
Two points: campaign planned adequately, convincing in some respects, but too general in its direction
 
One point: campaign poorly planned, unconvincing, and lacking in direction
 
You can ask your students to contribute to the assessment rubric by determining criteria for a convincing community awareness campaign.

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Extensions


Create a Model
Have students pair up with partners and design models, draw illustrations, or devise analogies to explain how a virus invades a cell and how the immune system then responds. The following terms may be helpful as they decide what symbols or materials to use:
  • ". . . a package delivered to a cell . . ."
  • ". . . factory for producing more virus . . ."
  • ". . . tiny keys that allow it to unlock . . ."
  • ". . . target cells . . . attacks . . ."
  • ". . . an army of defenders . . . battle the enemy . . ."
  • ". . . commands its team . . . killer . . . attack . . . the next invasion . . ."


Scientists on the Job
Invite students to imagine that they are part of a team of scientists working on halting the spread of AIDS or even finding a vaccine or a cure. Have students work in groups of three to list what they would need for their work. Then have groups compare their lists to see what items (or people) appeared on more than one list. Finally, with the class, create a master list. To prepare for the activity, you might have students use the Internet to find out about the work of three scientists who have contributed significantly to AIDS research: Dr. Stephen Morse, virologist; Dr. James Gallarda, biochemist; and Dr. Anthony Fauci, specialist in allergy and infectious diseases.

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Suggested Readings


Everything You Need to Know about Being HIV-Positive
Amy Shire, Rosen Publishing Group, 1994
This book explains in a plainspoken manner how one contracts and avoids HIV. Chapter two, entitled "What Does it Mean to be HIV-Positive," offers an excellent diagram of how HIV affects the immune system.

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Links


HIV InSite
HIV InSite: Gateway to AIDS Knowledge Comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS Treatment, Prevention and Social Issues from the University of California San Francisco

The Science of HIV
This site describes the resource package published by the NSTA to accompany the program, "The Science of HIV."

HIV Education and Prevention
Pedro Zamora came to national attention in the popular MTV show The Real World. This site tells Pedro's story and shares information about AIDS education and activism.

Welcome to the AIDS Memorial Quilt Website
A home page dedicated to the AIDS quilt project.

Cells Alive!
Explains and illustrates what happens as a virus invades and infects a cell. The graphics are excellent.

Opportunistic Infection
HIV weakens the body's ability to fight disease. This page has information about opportunistic infections and some other disorders common with HIV.

ARIC Aids Research Information Center


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Vocabulary


Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    HIV
Definition: Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus that causes AIDS.
Context: HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, teeters on the very edge of life.

speaker    virus
Definition: 1. Any of various submicroscopic pathogens consisting essentially of a core of a single nucleic acid surrounded by a protein coat, having the ability to replicate only inside a living cell. 2. A specific pathogen.
Context: A virus is the most fundamental of organisms because it is pure genes.

speaker    immune system
Definition: The body's system of defense against infection.
Context: Our immune system is designed to recognize foreign bodies and eliminate them.

speaker    AIDS
Definition: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Major failure of body's immune system (immunodeficiency disease). It decreases the body's ability to fight infection and suppress multiplication of abnormal cells, such as cancer cells. Caused by a sexually transmitted virus, contaminated blood or via the placenta to a fetus of an infected mother.
Context: AIDS is when the immune system has decreased enough from the attack of the virus to be vulnerable to infections.

speaker    retrovirus
Definition: Group of viruses that cause AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and some types of lymphoma and leukemia.
Context: Retroviruses copy the instructions of the virus into DNA form and disappear into the cell's own working mechanism.

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Standards


This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
 
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: life science
Standard:
Knows the general structure and functions of cells in organisms.
Benchmarks:
Knows that disease represents a breakdown in structures or functions of an organism; some diseases are the result of intrinsic failures of the system, whereas others are the result of infection by other organisms.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Standard:
Understands the nature of scientific knowledge.
Benchmarks:
Knows that because all scientific ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available; in areas where data, information, or understanding is incomplete, it is normal for scientific ideas to be incomplete, but this is also where the opportunity for making advances may be greatest.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Standard:
Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
Benchmarks:
Knows that scientists conduct investigations for a variety of reasons, such as exploration of new areas, discovery of new aspects of the natural world, confirmation of prior investigations, prediction of current theories, and comparisons of models and theories.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Standard:
Understands the scientific enterprise.
Benchmarks:
Knows that progress in science and technology can relate to social issues and challenges (e.g., funding priorities, health problems).

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: health
Standard:
Knows essential concepts about prevention and control of disease.
Benchmarks:
Understands how the immune system functions to prevent or combat disease.

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Credit


Joan Winchester Myers, family life teacher at T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, Virginia.

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