Diagnosing the Physiological Repercussions of Concussions!

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Objective

Students will plan and carry out an investigation to assess the accuracy of blood based biomarkers for concussion diagnostics.

Big Idea

The diagnosis of a concussions is a complicated process that requires an assessment of behavioral and biochemical symptoms.

Introduction

Lesson Background & Justification:

    A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination. In this lesson, students become familiarized with the various levels of biological impact (from organ to the cellular level) that result as a consequence of excessive physical force or trauma to the head. Armed with this knowledge, students will pursue an investigation that seeks to confirm or reject S100B, a brain contained protein, as a biomarker for future diagnosis of concussions. 

Prerequisite Knowledge: It is recommended that students be familiar with the structure and function of a neuron, the concept of neurotransmission, the action potential mechanism and metabolic process of cellular respiration. 

Lesson Preparations:

 In the effort to prepare for this lesson, I make certain that I have the following items in place: 

a) A class set of the Life Science Learning Center's Just a Bang to the Head (Student Guide). Teacher Guide and Student (1 copy of the student lab per student pair) 

b) Student lab books.

c) Class set of safety wear (glasses, lab aprons and gloves)

Common Core and NGSS Standards:

SP1- Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering).

SP2- Developing and Using Models.

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

HS-LS1-Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

Standards Rationale:

      Modeling is the process by which scientists represent ideas about the natural world to each other, and then collaboratively make changes to these representations over time in response to new evidence and understandings. It is intimately connected to other scientific processes (asking questions, communicating information, etc.) and improves students ability to recall scientific jargon through association. In the classroom, it is important that teachers engage students in modeling practices, to set the foundation of success in a lesson or instructional unit. In this lesson modeling is used in concert with other science practices in the classroom to promote students’ reasoning and understanding of core science idea presented (diagnosing concussions.)  

Engage

10 minutes

Section Sequence:

a) Slide 1: Ask students "How many of us know what a concussion?". Direct students to respond by raising their hands. Prompt students with their hands raised to use what they know about concussions to help to fill in the blanks of the incomplete definition projected. Encourage and support reasonable definitions. 

b) Advance to the next question on the screen and allow for several students to share out their opinions verbally with the class. 

c) Share with students that they will view a video to add on to their current perspectives and play the following video:

d) Post video, revisit statements/questions 1-3 with the class. Read question aloud and encourage students to compare/contrast their original thoughts to those post video. 

Explore

45 minutes

Section Primer: 

       S100 calcium-binding protein B (S100B) is a protein of the S-100 protein family. S100 proteins are localized in the cytoplasm and nucleus of a wide range of cells, and involved in the regulation of a number of cellular processes such as cell cycle progression and differentiation. S100B is glial-specific and is expressed primarily by astrocytes and is contained by the brain's blood barrier under normal conditions. Scientists have recently discovered that this protein seeps into the bloodstream as a consequence of trauma to the head or concussion. This makes the S-100B Protein an ideal Biomarker and potential diagnostic tool. In this section of the lesson, students assess the correlation between S100B protein and concussion sustaining events. 

Section Sequence:

a) Slide 2: Project the top half of the Scientific American's Battered Brains Head Injury Comic Strip to the class and select volunteers to read the individual frames to the class. Proceed to read the questions individually and allow for students to share their responses with the class in between each question. After posing the final question probe, direct students responses until their responses until they ask some variation of the question "Do we know how severe the concussion is?"

b) Slide 3: Provide students with the materials to complete Part 4 of the Life Science Learning Center's Just a Bang to the Head lab activity, ( Teacher Guide and Student Guide) and instruct students to complete the tasks as outlined on the slide.

Note: This lab can be approached in 1 of 2 of ways:

   1) Students can be provided some guidance while following the directions as specified in the student handout. In this scenario, the teacher could serve as facilitator and provide intermittent discussions throughout to drive the proceeding step in the lab. For example, the instructor and class can read the background passage together, discuss their thoughts of the research, complete steps 1-2 together and collectively develop a question that they would like resolved based on the findings. Students can then be allowed to complete the rest of their lab with the occasional class check in.  

   2) Read the S100B background passage as a group and instruct students to develop a question regarding the information that they in teams would like a specific answer to. After students develop and record their question in #3, they should be provided with the materials for #1 and #2 and directed to produce a product (graph) that addresses their question. 

Standards Covered:

SP1- Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering).

SP2- Developing and Using Models.

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

Explain

15 minutes

Section Sequence:

a) Slide 4: Share with students:"Now that we have some idea of how we can potentially assess the status and degree of a concussion, let's examine the physics that drive these events to better understand why we sustain the biological consequences examined in our simulation."

b) Play and review the major ideas of the following infographic: Anatomy of a Concussion (Physics). Emphasize the units of force and scale of the units within the class discussion. (Explaining the physics of a concussion!) 

c) Play and verbally recap the major ideas in the following video Sport Science: NFL Concussions and helmet to helmet collisions and its connection to the infographic discussed in step b. Ask probing questions to help students understand the magnitude and scale of damage that can be sustained from physical interactions in contact sports. (Applying the physics of a concussion to biological entities.)

d) Direct students' attention to the diagram projected and select a student to 1) read #1 and 2) Apply terms/experiences from the infographics, video or lab experiences to further expound upon the statement. Repeat with statements #'s 2-4 with other student volunteers. (Pulling it all together on an organ and tissue level!) 

e) Slides 5-7: Use the images on the slides to describe the impact of a concussion on a cellular and chemical basis respectively. (Pulling it all together on a cellular and chemical level!) 

f) Slide 8: Read and execute the tasks outlined on the slide. Emphasize the significance of oxygen and glucose in the body for cellular respiration in the first graph and use this foundation to encourage students to think critically about the presence of lactate in the second graph (anaerobic respiration product). 

Standards Covered:

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

 MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

 HS-LS1-Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

Extend

15 minutes

Section Sequence:

a) Slide 9: Read the definition of a biomarker to the class from the screen and then read the task stated below the definition. Instruct students to complete the task and to consider the image on the screen as well as the information presented in the review graphs (slide 8) to develop their responses. 

b) Instruct at least 2-3 students to verbally share their ideas with the class.  

Standards Covered:

SP2- Developing and Using Models.

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

HS-LS1-Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

Evaluate

5 minutes

Section Primer:

       Tau Proteins are proteins that stabilize microtubles. They are abundant in neurons of the central nervous system and are expressed at very low levels in astrocytes and oligodendrocytes of the CNS. While the dysfunction of these proteins are being heavily researched and associated with Alzheimers, they too are being examined as a time clock and biomarker for concussions. In this section of the lesson, students are introduced to the potential of Tau Proteins in the assessment of concussions and apply the basis of tau protein accumulation to the physics and biological ramifications of repeated trauma to the head. This application also provides students with the opportunity to infuse purposeful integration of accumulated vocabulary into their work products. 

Section Sequence:

a) Provide students with a* modified copy of the bottom half of the Scientific American's Battered Brains Head Injury Comic Strip. Read and explain the specifics of their evaluation task as it appears on the projected slide. 

*Print and white out all but the first phrase that accompany the comic frames on the bottom half of the infographic. 

b) Collect student assignments as an exit ticket. 

Standards Covered:

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

HS-LS1-Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.