In this lesson, students will analyze an from Science Daily that discusses the research conducted by scientists who used machine learning methods to identify bats that were likely to be reservoirs for Ebola and other filoviruses. Scientists mapped out the geographical ranges of these bats and hope to be able to use this information to prevent future outbreaks.This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a vocabulary guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 11, 12
Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: Ebola, filovirus, machine learning, Ebola virus reservoir, text complexity, informational text
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain why it is important that scientists can identify reservoirs of filoviruses.
- Explain how technology was used to identify the bats that were most likely to host filoviruses.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the meaning of academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Identify important scientific issues in the text that remain unresolved or unanswered.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
With regard to science content knowledge:
- To help students understand the text () used in this lesson, students should be familiar with general information regarding viruses, specifically Ebola. The following links provide tutorials on viruses and the Ebola Virus by the Khan Academy. They do a very thorough job explaining many different aspects about viruses and Ebola. The tutorials are divided into sections so teachers can use the information based on student needs.
- Students should have a grasp on terms related to epidemiology such as host, carrier, and reservoir. If needed, this link provides access to a glossary of epidemiology terms by Columbia University.
- Students should have prior knowledge on bats and zoonotic diseases. The short video ("Why Do Bats Transmit so Many Diseases like Ebola?" uploaded by MinuteEarth) could be shown to students.
With regard to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text including use of context clues and dictionary skills.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the Science Daily article used in this lesson include a title, subtitle, summary, map and caption, and bold and enlarged font used in an introduction. Note: In the online version of the article, students can click on the map to make it bigger.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site provides transition words and sentence samples that teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why is the study featured in the Science Daily text important in the fight against Ebola andotherfiloviruses?
- This study is important because it can identify geographic areas that might be affected by filovirus spillover events. The study yielded unexpected results because some of these hotspots were outside sub-Saharan Africa and were located in areas that were not expected by scientists, areas such as Central and South America, as well as Southeast Asia. Scientists can now monitor these areas to prevent future outbreaks.
- How was artificial intelligence used to determine the bat species most likely to be reservoirsforfiloviruses?
- By using machine learning methods, scientists entered large amounts of data from different fields into complex computer programs about bats that were known to be reservoirs for filoviruses. The programs were able to analyze large amounts of data and find hidden patterns that were not recognized to this point. All of the 1,116 bat species were compared to the original profile and new potential filovirus hosts were identified.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about Ebola. Have students get into groups and brainstorm for approximately 5-10 minutes. Have the groups share some of their responses. They may suggest that Ebola is found in Africa, that there were recent outbreaks in the past several years, or that Ebola is considered to be very deadly, etc.
- Explain to students that Ebola belongs to the family of viruses referred to as filoviruses. Ebola is the most well known filovirus, but the Marburg virus is also in this family. They are hemorrhagic viruses that are extremely deadly and can severely affect body organs and cause major damage to blood vessels.
- Show the following Live Science "Bat Soup Blamed as Deadly Ebola Virus Spreads." Tell students that these viruses live in animals that are considered to be natural reservoirs. They do not harm the host reservoir, but the host can transmit the virus to other animals including humans. Point out to students the reservoir for Ebola is still considered to be unknown, but scientists now believe the reservoir is bats.
- Go over the following visual by the CDC on "Ebola Ecology and Transmission."
- Finally, let the students know they will be reading an article titled "Ecologists Identify Potential New Sources of Ebola and other Filoviruses" by Science Daily. The article discusses a study done to identify bat species that are known to be reservoirs for different filoviruses.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the Science Daily "Ecologists Identify Potential New Sources of Ebola and Other Filoviruses," along with the attached vocabulary guide.
- Have students use text coding to help them identify or take notice of the following as they read the article for the first time. Consider using the following text coding: F =Filovirus; E = Ebola; B = Bats; M = Machine-based learning (AI).
- Explain to students whenever they come across information about filoviruses, they can write an F in the margin of the text. When the article references Ebola, they can write an E in the margin of the text. They will do this for each of the items listed. Teachers can add more items or remove certain items to meet the needs of their students.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Ecologists Identify Potential New Sources of Ebola and other Filoviruses
- Subtitle: Likeliest virus hosts include species ranging from Southeast Asia to Central and South America
- Summary (located before the full article begins)
- Map and caption
- Introduction/overview (in large and bold font)
- Have students read and mark the text (have the text-coding items displayed for students). The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Students should also use the vocabulary guide to discern the meaning of selected vocabulary from the text during their initial reading of the text, or if it is easier for students, after their first reading of the text. For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words (for example: use of context clues, word parts, or a dictionary). For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary to define the words. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them (there are additional tips in the sample answer key):
- Biogeography (Paragraph 2): A science that deals with the geographical distribution of plants and animals. Encourage students to break the word apart into individual pieces in order to determine a definition for the word. Bio- refers to life, geo- refers to the Earth, and graph refers to writing. By putting each part together, students may be able to determine a general idea of what the word means.
- Susceptible (Paragraph 4): Easily affected or harmed by something. Encourage students to use context clues from the paragraph the term is found in. The text states "identifying which animals serve as..." and "can spread to humans and...." These ideas should help students determine the meaning of the word.
- Culprits (Paragraph 4): The source or cause of a problem. There are a few context clues for this word and students should be able to rely on the phrase "there is mounting evidence...that certain bats..." to figure out the definition of this term.
- Ranges (Paragraph 4, 5, 6): The region throughout an area in which an organism naturally lives or occurs. Range is used several times within the article and there are context clues to determine the meaning. The word geographic is used to describe range and locations are mentioned.
- Exemplifies (Paragraph 11): To be a very good example of something. Students may need a dictionary to determine the meaning of this word. Have students plug in the different definitions to see which best fits in the context of the paragraph/sentence.
Formative Assessment (How will you check for student understanding?):
Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed vocabulary guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, and possibly a grade. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion. Teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to give alternative suggestions on ways the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students may have the misconception that the virus can harm the bat. The bat is actually considered the normal habitat for the filoviruses.
- As of February 2016, the CDC states in an article titled "About Ebola Virus Disease" that the Ebola reservoir is still considered unknown, although it is believed to be the bat.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative assessment can come in the form of the following:
Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text-dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before the students complete the writing assignment for the summative assessment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
- After students' written responses for the summative assessment have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a detailed written response. Note: The sample written response is in the form of an extended response and not a formal essay. Teachers can show the response and ask students to:
- Identify the effective use of textual evidence from the article to explain and support why it is important to identify and map the sources or potential causes of filovirus spillover events.
- Identify the effective and accurate use of domain-specific vocabulary (e.g., virus, primate, pathogen, animal host, geographical range, transmission, outbreak) and academic vocabulary (e.g., mortality, reservoir, hotspot, surveillance, pinpoint) throughout the response.
- At the end of the lesson, have students use exit tickets to demonstrate their understanding of the science concepts presented in the article:
- I still have questions about these science concepts...
- By reading this article I can now prove this scientific point....
- The three most important scientific ideas I gained from this article were...
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. If using the attached rubric to assess students' work, students should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the following writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address:
- Using evidence from the text, explain why is it important to identify and map the sources or potential causes of filovirus spillover events.
Specific suggestions for conducting the Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing feedback to students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."
Accommodations & Recommendations
- Teachers may wish to show the news video titled "2014 Ebola Outbreak Deadliest in History" so students have some context of the severity of filoviruses and the importance of this study.
- Teachers might want to show students a map of the world and point out the locations in the article that were identified as hotspots. The article references Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Northeastern India. The text, in paragraph 8, lists other areas as well. Teachers can also enlarge the map that comes with the Science Daily article.
For struggling readers:
It might help students to independently read the text and then hear the text read aloud by strong readers. Students can work in pairs or small groups to determine the meaning of selected vocabulary. The teacher may wish to first select one or two subject-specific words and one or two academic words (words with multiple meanings that are seen across content areas and are particularly challenging because students have to determine their meaning based on how a word is used in a particular context) to model with. Teachers can model ways to determine the meaning of a few selected words and then have students work with a partner or in a small group to define additional words on their own. Students can then be encouraged to use some of these words in their written response for the summative assessment.
For struggling writers:
It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their written response for the summative assessment. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Topic sentence (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Have students complete research on the Marburg virus, which is considered the other well-known filovirus. This page on Marburg hemorrhagic fever can get them started.
- This link to "Practice Materials" from the CDC provides resources and activities for teachers that allow students to explore the field of epidemiology. There are a variety of topics including an activity on the West Nile virus, anthrax, and food poisoning.
- Bats are considered to be one of the main reservoirs of viruses. Students can explore other viruses bats host from this Nature article titled "Bat-Man Disease Transmission: Zoonotic Pathogens from Wildlife Reservoirs to Human Populations."
- There are related stories with the online version of the article used in this lesson. The teacher may want to check out some of these related articles and assign them to students for further reading on the topics of Ebola and bats and have them report out what they learned.
Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Florida Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Ellen Muse
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.