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Online Lessons for Teachers: Learning Evolution

LESSON 6: 

Why Does Evolution Matter Now?

Back to LESSON 6

Activity 1: Teacher Notes

Activity 2: Evolution in Your World

Activity 2: Teacher Notes

Materials You'll Need:

• 

Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance: Survey form (pdf)

One or more of the following:

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Paper for pamphlet

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Board for poster

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Power Point program for presentation

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Video camera for public service announcement

Activity 1: Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance

When people go to the doctor's office, they expect to be cured. They don't like to be told, "Go home, drink lots of fluids and rest, and you will get better." They want a more proactive approach. Often, doctors prescribe antibiotics just to make their patients happy, even if the antibiotics cannot treat the illness at hand. As a result, antibiotics become more prevalent, the microbes they attack are more likely to develop resistance, and over time the antibiotics become ineffective. Learn about why some diseases have become antibiotic-resistant and how you can help address the problem.

Procedures
Part A: Misuse of Antibiotics

1. 

View "Why Does Evolution Matter Now?" Travel inside a Russian prison to see the impact of evolution on the lives of the inmates and the surrounding community. This video describes the transmission of tuberculosis and the evolution of multiple drug-resistant strains of TB.

 Image of a bacteria seen under a microscope.

Why Does
Evolution Matter Now?

View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer

2. 

Answer the following questions about the video segment:

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Why is the Russian prison system considered to be "ground zero" in the fight against TB?

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What is responsible for the evolution of TB strains that are resistant to multiple drugs?

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How does the misuse of antibiotics affect the evolution of disease-causing bacteria? Use the theory of natural selection to explain the growing resistance to antibiotics.

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Why should we care about a resistant strain of TB in Russia?

3. 

Discuss your answers in class or with a friend or parent. Also, remember that the video uses the Russian prison system as an example of a place where antibiotic resistance has taken hold. Antibiotic resistance is quite prevalent, and it is is not limited to such settings. Discuss where else you would expect this problem to exist.

4. 

If you have time, you may want to view the animated video segment "The Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance" or read the interview of Dr. Paul Ewald.

 Image of bacteria.

The Evolution of
Antibiotic Resistance

View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer



Part B: Antibiotic Resistance in Your Neighborhood

1. 

Gather information about the use and misuse of antibiotics in your own neighborhood. Print the Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance: Survey form (pdf), or obtain a copy from your teacher. Try to find at least five people of different ages to survey.

2. 

Ask local health professionals the following questions about antibiotics:

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Unfinished prescriptions: If you have a pharmacy near your house, ask the pharmacist why it is important to finish all prescriptions. If you have access to a doctor, ask your doctor why it is important.

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Prevalence of antibiotics: Ask a doctor how often he or she prescribes antibiotics.

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Prevalence of infectious disease: Contact your local health department to gather data about the incidence of infectious disease over the past few years.

3. 

Summarize the results of your survey. Do you think the misuse of antibiotics is a problem in your community? Why or why not? Report your findings in class.

Part C: Spreading the Word

1. 

Your teacher may divide the class into small groups. You and your teammates will work together as health professionals and researchers. (If you are at home, you can do this activity alone.)

2. 

Your team has been hired to develop a public relations campaign to help inform the general public about the threat of antibiotic resistance. You will gather information and produce an educational piece (pamphlet, brochure, PowerPoint presentation, poster board, or video commercial) to inform the general population.

3. 

The following Web sites might be helpful in your search.

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Center for Disease Control: A Public Health Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance
The introduction to this extensive action plan provides a good overview of the state of antibiotic resistance and some information about what federal agencies are doing to address the problem.

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Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics
This nonprofit, international organization provides information for consumers about what antibiotics are and how the public can help limit the development of antibiotic resistance.

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The Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Infection
This article for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's consumer newsletter describes the threats and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance.

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The Challenge of Antibiotic Resistance
This feature article discusses strains of a staph infection that have emerged that are resistant to their accustomed antidote.

4. 

Your research team needs to process the information you collect and design an informational product for presentation to the class or distribution to a general audience. It should include:

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An explanation of antibiotic resistance;

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An explanation of how natural selection influences the effectiveness of antibiotics and the virulence of infectious agents;

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Information about how national and international agencies combat antibiotic resistance; and

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Tips for how the public can help combat increased antibiotic resistance.

 

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