Summer Research Program for Science Teachers


Roy Arezzo - I.S. 318, Brooklyn - 1996




Compare and contrast the life cycles of free-living organisms to that of parasites. What are the changes that occur during the life span of these organisms? [Content Standard C- Interdependence of organisms] [Content Standard Unifying Concepts- Form and function]


Students will be exposed to an actual parasitology research lab at Columbia University and then incorporate their findings into their own animated group video productions.


Students will be able to:

-work cooperatively in research groups

-access information via internet/computer resources

-research topics using various resources, i.e. library, ecology center, internet, etc.

-explain concepts relevant to lesson, i.e. life cycles, metamorphosis, symbiosis, parasitism

-explain and illustrate the various stages of a specific organism's life cycle

-direct and produce a mini-video production.


The class will be divided into cooperative groups of four or five students in each. Following pre-lessons relevant to life cycles, groups will choose an organism to research from a selected list of topics. Half of the groups will research the life cycles of specific free living organisms, the other half will study parasites. Nonparasitic life cycles of interest include the stone fly, painted lady butterfly, cricket, leopard frog and red eft newt. Parasites which will be studied include T. Spiralis, P. vivax, C. sinensis, S. japonicum and S. mansonoides. These parasitic worms and protozoa vary in the type and number of vectors which they infect. For each parasite, humans have a role as host in the organism's life cycle. Illustrations of the life cycle of each parasite listed above have been provided on separate pages.

Cooperative groups will be assigned library time to research classification and background information of their organisms. [Teaching Standard B- Focus and support inquiry] During library visits, research groups will be slated computer time so that they may search the internet for updated information and current research on their topic. Two class periods will be designated to the research portion of the project.

Animated video productions will be created during two consecutive double period lab sessions. Research groups will be provided with art supplies in order to create illustrations. Each stage of the organism's life cycle will be drawn on a separate sheet of construction paper. Groups will then write narrative scripts to accompany the illustrations. Each group will then record the illustrations while reading their descriptions onto video tape. All members of the research group will alternate roles of the video production. Since each organism has at least four stages to its life cycle, it is probable that each student will be responsible for at least one narrated illustration. Illustrations will be video taped in proper sequence of life cycle. Once the production is completed and viewed in real time, the animation format will be analogous to that of 'flip books'.


Research groups will present their productions to their peer and discuss the organism they research in a question/answer session. [Teaching Standard B- Orchestrate scientific discourse]] Groups will be graded accordingly.


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