I am a teacher at James Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut. I teach tenth through twelve graders in the subjects of Health, Human Physiology, and Biology. Teaching in an urban setting is greatly challenging and sometimes frustrating. Notwithstanding these obstacles there are some great rewards, such as the differences you have made or the impression you have left on those students you have taught. Demographically, the student population of the school falls into two dominant categories: African American and Hispanic, with a few white students. There is a growing population of students with English as second language. The percentage of people living below the poverty level in New Haven is approximately 25% according to the 2000 census. Attendance and constant movement of students in and out of the school place a strain on the lesson in the classroom.
At any point in time a student will find himself or herself in a science class discussing the topic of infectious diseases. In many cases the student will only remember the topic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs), forgetting that there are other types of infectious diseases. All science courses will cover the topic of diseases in some way. In both health science and human physiology, the topic of diseases is covered greatly with an emphasis on how diseases occur and how they are prevented. Also, in the subject area of biology the topic of disease is explored when discussing bacteria and viruses. However, not enough time is being spent on a particular infectious disease in the subject area of biology because of the packed curriculum that is required to be done by March. The intent of this unit is to ignite the students' interest so that they will study this subject further on their own or come away with a greater understanding of infectious diseases. The unit is designed for children in grades 10-12 and will be taught for approximately ten days.
The design of this unit is guided by New Haven Public School Curriculum Science Standards grades 9-12. Specifically, Content Standard 10.2 Microorganisms
have an essential role in life processes. In this unit I will focus on two types of infectious diseases: Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis. The focus is on Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis is because of their characteristics. Hepatitis B is caused by a virus, and Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria.
During the beginning of the unit, the students will learn about the definition of infectious disease and categories of infectious diseases. I want the students use their prior knowledge of bacterial cells and viral particles to get them interested in the topic. Then, the students will learn about what causes an infectious disease (pathogens). The students will explore the different types of pathogens and how they cause disease. The main focus will be on two specific infectious diseases: hepatitis B and tuberculosis. For each disease the students will explore the cause, symptoms, and treatments. The two infectious diseases will be compared and contrasted. The students will trace the effects of all two diseases on the body systems. At the end of the unit the students will be required to write a research paper on how sanitation, vaccination, and antibiotic medications has decreased the spread and improved the treatment of hepatitis B and tuberculosis in a particular country.