Host-Parasite Interactions - Teacher Instructions
This activity is designed to explore strategies used by the host to keep invading microorganisms out. Students will first learn about the innate defenses of the human body. Then they will be asked to play the role of an invading microorganism. Their goal is to brainstorm as many ways around the host defenses as possible. Then, after brainstorming. They can compare their ideas to strategies actually used by mircoorganisms.
This activity can be used in one of two ways. In either case, I suggest breaking the class up into groups, and assigning different parts of the body to different groups. After time for brainstorming, each group can then explain to the class the defenses of the part of the body they were exploring as well as their ideas for how to get around these defenses.
1. As an online activity - In this case, students will use the web to explore the defenses of different parts of the body. The advantages of this method are that it involves the students with colored pictures and animated gifs. Also, the animated gifs may help students understand concepts such as peristalsis, the mucociliary escalator, and phagocytosis by macrophages. All the information on the host's innate defenses are included in the exercise, however, you can download the teacher pages as well for reference. The disadvantage of using the online activity is that students can click on the answer page at any time, thus shortcircuiting the brainstorming process. Also, it requires that at least each group of students have access to a computer with internet access.
2. As a paper activity - In this case teachers would print out all the necessary information (below in either html or pdf format). Their are graphics the students can use during their brainstorming, plus a teacher background information sheet, which explains the function of each of the items depicted on the graphic. The advantage is that computers are not needed and students can not check the answers at any time. The disadvantage is that it is not as interactive, and doesn't allow students to see the animated portions.