Antibiotic Lab Investigation (Day 1 of 3)

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Students will learn the basic details regarding the background history of antibiotics, the nature of bacterial organisms, and explore the phenomenon of antibacterial/antimicrobial resistance in a hands-on manner.

Big Idea

Bacterial infections, the use of antibiotics, and their increasing resistance to many antibiotics is a growing and widespread issue for medical science. Students will investigate this issue in a hands-on lab.

Learner Goals

Note: I recommend that you first check out this resource in order to get the most out of this lesson!

In high school I took several drafting classes and, for a while, I had hoped to become an architect. With respect to planning instruction and teaching, I feel that I can still live out the detailed approach to building something intricate and complex even though the product is a lesson rather than a certain "built environment".

The lesson-planning template that I uploaded to this section is a comprehensive overview of how I approach lesson planning. This template includes the "Big Three" aspects of the NGSS standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science Practices. Of course, there are many other worthy learning goals, skills, instructional strategies, and assessments that can be integrated into a class session. I don't feel compelled to check every box but, rather, use it as a guide to consider various options and tailor the lesson in light of these.

With regard to this particular lesson, I want students to develop some basic knowledge about cell diversity; that is some cells are prokaryotic and others eukaryotic. Furthermore, given the high-stakes issue of antibiotic resistance in medical science, students ought to be informed about the problem and ways to reduce its effects. Finally, students will be formally introduced to the particular inquiry procedures that I want students to follow in this, and every, lab investigation. The scaffolding of knowledge and skills here will serve them well in the sessions of this class.

I hope you get some value from my work! Please find the more intricate details of this lesson plan there.

NOTE: This investigation will take at least 3 class periods (165 minutes in my case) to complete due to the fact that there are several necessary scaffolds that students will need: overview and practice using my experimental design template, the content under-girding the lab (antibiotics, bacteria, and lab techniques to name a few), and the time for incubation and colony growth.

Anticipatory Set ("Hook")

10 minutes

The study of biology is very complex and encompasses a broad scope of organisms. I start this journey by investigating something seemingly simple: bacteria.

  1. To start, have students brainstorm by using a KWL chart. Have them fill in at least four (4) things that they know about bacteria (K).
  2. Next, have them list at least five (5) questions they would like to know more about (W). Have them leave the (L) column blank until later; perhaps during the lab or after it has finished.  

Instructional Input/Student Activities

40 minutes

(Day 1 of 3)

1. Share the basic overview of the lab to be completed and emphasize this opportunity to do a hands-on investigation that links to many different topics in biology that will be studied later in the year. 

2. As a matter of practice, I use the same Lab Write-up Guidelines handout for guiding students through the entire lab design process. Review the basic steps and the salient details for each. Provide a copy of this handout for student reference. 

3. Referring to the Antibiotic Lab PPT, the steps of the lab investigation are mirrored to those found in the student Antibiotic Lab handout. Students follow along with the PPT and complete their assigned Antibiotic Lab Template seamlessly.

4. The first several slides (2-7) lay out the details of the main topics of study in this lab investigation: bacteria, antibiotics, antibiotic resistance. Review each of these items with students and allow students time to process and record the main ideas for each (in the Background Information section of the student lab template).

5. Based on the information provided so far (and being familiar with designing experiments), guide students through sections of the Lab Write-Up Guidelines until the Data Section. 

6. With a plan in place, students assign roles for conducting the lab and set up their Petri dishes according to plan. See suggestions on slide 13. 

Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?

5 minutes

Note: Since this is a three-day lab, the set-up of today's Antibiotic Lab Template (linked in previous section) ought to be completed by the next class session; up to and including the Data Section with an empty data chart anticipating the data to be collected.

This student's document will serve as an example to follow. They have a completed data table and have anticipated with data will need to be collected (See "Data & Observations" section).

Due to time constraints and student pace, this task may turn into homework.  This will prepare students for Day 2 - Lab.