In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses research into the fine balance between microbes and their hosts. The text explains how a human's microbiota or microbiome plays a very important role in the immune system. The text describes how bacteria, or the lack of bacteria, play a role in the immune system and keep autoimmune diseases at bay. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 11, 12
Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: immune system, microbes, microbiota, symbiosis, mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, inflammation, psoriasis, Crohn's disease, immnunity, microbiome, bacteria, commensal bacteria, pathogenic, cytokines, autoimmune, informational text, text complexity
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students should be able to:
- Explain the role of the microbiome in the human body.
- Explain how and why the microbiome can be different from individual to individual.
- Explain the side effects that can result due to an unbalanced microbiome.
- List actions that individuals can take to create a healthier microbiome.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the meaning of unknown academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- 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?
In regards to science:
- Basic knowledge of the immune system would be beneficial to students.
- This ,"The Human Immune System Explained - Bacteria Infection," (6:48, uploaded by YouTube user Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell) explains how complicated the immune system is and then reduces the information down so that the viewer will get a great summary of the immune response.
- CPALMS and floridastudents.org have many resources for students in reference to the immune system. This includes tutorials, interactive online games, and other short videos that are more focused on topics like B cells and T cells.
- General understanding of bacteria and their life cycle would be very beneficial to students.
- This video titled "What is Bacteria?" (2:11, uploaded by YouTube user MonkeySee) gives a short review of the different roles bacteria play as well as a review on their structure.
- General familiarity with the three different types of symbiotic relationships: commensalism, parasitism,and mutualism will also help students with this lesson. Students will be able to apply this knowledge when the article discusses bacterial relationships within the immune system. The teacher could refer back to these examples to help students visualize the relationship.
- This video titled "Symbiosis: Mutualism, Commensalism, and Parasitism" (5:16, uploaded by YouTube user Untamed Science) gives general examples of each type of relationship.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text including context clues, word parts, 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 NIH's microbiome article include a title, photographs, and captions.
- Based on the writing rubric included 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. This site provides transitions teachers might provide to help students.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why is there a need to understand the relationship we have withourmicrobiota?
The relationship we have with our microbiota is very important. The microbiota, if in balance, helps our immune system stay strong. If our microbiota become imbalanced it can lead to diseases like Crohn's disease and psoriasis. We know very little about all of the different relationships we have with our microbes. Scientists hope that as more information is discovered, they will be able to treat diseases, specifically autoimmune diseases, more successfully.
- How doesthegnotobiotic facility allow Dr.Belkaid and her team to effectively evaluate relationships between bacteria and the immune system?
The gnotobiotic facility allows Dr. Belkaid and her team to use 100% germ-free animal models, like a mouse, to slowly introduce one new species of bacteria at a time. This allows the team to see the direct effects of specific species of bacteria on the mouse's immune system.
- What has Dr.Belkaid's research confirmed about our microbiome and disease?
Her research has confirmed that there is a direct link between our microbiome and diseases like psoriasis. Dr. Belkaid was able to link a specific cytokine to the pathogenesis of psoriasis.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by asking students to get out a piece of paper. Ask them to turn the paper so it is horizontal. Then have them divide the paper in half with a line down the middle. On one half of the paper, ask them to make a quick sketch of what the world would look like, or even the city they live in, if there were no bacteria.
- Next, show the students the following titled "Good vs. Bad Bacteria" (2:17, uploaded by YouTube user MicrowarriorsMovie Last) that introduces bacteria, both the good and the bad.
- After viewing the video, on the bottom half of their paper, ask students to sketch what the world would like like now without any bacteria.
- Ask students: Did your sketch change? Why or why not?
- End the discussion by informing students that we will be reading an article that addresses the fine line of balance between microbes and their hosts.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the article "The Microbiome: When Good Bugs Go Bad." For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph in the text.
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: The Microbiome: When Good Bugs Go Bad
- Captions: Located next to each photograph (in a textbox)
- Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text or after their first reading of the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in a small group. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Rather than having students select their own unknown words to define on the back of the note-taking guide, an alternative is to have teachers pre-select words from the article for students to define. Possible words or terms students may struggle with have been included on the note-taking guide sample answer key.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, or 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.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
- For discussion on students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, 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 provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- A common error or misconception is that food can actually change the types of bacteria that live in our gut. If you eat a diet high in sugar, your microbiome will have different species than someone who eats only meats and vegetables. Some of those bacteria may be better suited to help keep pathogens out than others.
- Students may not realize that even though antibiotics are targeted to kill certain bacteria, it can also kill some of the good bacteria in your body. If you have ever taken a strong antibiotic, it is likely it gave you diarrhea. This is because while the antibiotic was fighting to kill off the pathogenic bacteria in your gut, it also killed off beneficial bacteria.
- Students may not realize that without the gnotobiotic facility, it would be close to impossible to determine the effects of certain species of bacteria, due to the hundreds of other species located in the body.
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 (How will teachers check for understanding?):
- 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.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key provided at the end of the text-dependent questions to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
- Show students the titled "The Gut Microbiome and its Impact on Our Health" (3:51, uploaded by YouTube userEnteromeBioscience). Students will use details from the video, along with the article, to respond to the writing prompt for the summative assessment.
- Encourage the students to jot down some facts that are new to them.
- After the video, take 5 minutes to allow the students to share and discuss the facts that they recorded.
- 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 well-organized, detailed written response.
- Teachers can go over how the response addresses each aspect of the writing prompt, point out use of textual evidence from the video, point out use of textual evidence from the article, and have students identify accurate and effective use of domain-specific vocabulary.
- As a final lesson closure activity, ask the students to answer the following on an exit ticket:
- I am excited about...
- I'd like to learn more about...
- A question I have is...
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They 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 and their notes from the video 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 writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts.
The prompt: Using evidence from both the article, "The Microbiome: When Good Bugs Go Bad" and the video, "The Gut Microbiome and its Impact on our Health," explain the role of the microbiome in the human body, how and why it can be different from individual to individual, and the side effects that can result due to an unbalanced microbiome. Finally, briefly explain actions that individuals can take to create a healthier microbiome.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
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
For help with science content:
- This (4:12, uploaded by YouTube user NIH IRP) titled "Microbiome: When Good Bugs Go Bad" is a direct summary of Dr. Belkaid and her team's research. Using closed captioning would be recommended because Dr. Belkaid, who only narrates part of the video, has a strong accent.
- For students struggling with picturing what our microbiome is and does, this video (5:28, uploaded by YouTube user NPR) titled "The Invisible Universe of the Human Microbiome" offers a great general discussion of the microbiome. This includes topics like how we get one, why we need it, and why it changes.
For struggling readers:
- Teachers may want students to work in pairs or small groups to define selected words from the text (rather than having students select their own words). The teacher can work with students to define a few of the words before they define additional words on their own. This may help struggling readers remember different strategies they can use to define unknown words (e.g., dictionary skills, context clues, word parts). Working with vocabulary from the text will help students' comprehension of the article and will also make it easier for students to incorporate some of the vocabulary into their writing for the summative assessment.
- Words or terms students may have trouble with have been included in the sample answer key for the note-taking guide.
- Struggling readers may also have trouble with the following academic vocabulary and need support with these words: host, recoil, teeming, enriched, query, implicated, altered.
- It might benefit students to chunk the text. Have students independently read a section of the text, and then have several strong readers read that section aloud. This process can be repeated for multiple sections of the text until the article is completed.
- In between reading sections of text, students can stop and fill in appropriate parts of the note-taking guide, and add details to different boxes after each subsequent section of text is read. Students can share out what they have added to their note-taking guide so that teachers can provide corrective feedback and so that students can add ideas to their guide or make corrections to their guide based on the class discussion.
- Then, the class can continue to read the next section of text and add more details to the note-taking guide afterward.
For struggling writers: It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their 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 academic and domain-specific vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- This funded by the American Association of Immunologists is a great card game that is fun, interactive and very content driven. It's a great way for students to learn more about the complexity of the immune system.
- The Learn.Genetics website has many online activities that provide great extensions to this lesson.
- NIH also has a list of resources that could be used for extensions. Most of these are more information on current research, but some include ways people can get involved.
- NEA also has a list of teacher resources for all grade levels.
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
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: Jennifer Storer
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.