Objective: Student will apply their knowledge and understanding the immune system to design a super cell to solve a failure in the immune system or that will enhance this systems ability to fight a specific disease.
Activity: Group students in teams of three to five. Through the engineering process, students will apply their understanding of the immune system and its cell functions. Each team will pick a disease, identify the malfunction of the immune system and break it down into parts. Students will analyze the immune response, creating flow charts is a to analyze the process. Then, students will brainstorm possible solutions and generate questions to investigate. At this time, students can brainstorm uses of technologies learned from community protectors and observed from nature. In addition, students will consider genetic therapies to alter the cell DNA in order to change behaviors. Other engineering solutions students may include vectors for drug delivery or nano-bots that may consume pathogens. Still other ideas to create cells with protective coatings impervious to invaders. As part of this experience, students will work within the design process, brainstorming solutions with a team, exploring materials, creating models to test and learn what works and what doesn't, and then finally refine, build, and present the final product to the class; a might fighter and protector, their own engineered super cell.