Disease causing microorganisms

Biology Quarter 2 Project                                                                             Due Date: 12/15/2012                                  


   We will be studying viruses and bacteria in class during the first semester as well as a wide variety of microorganisms including protists and algae. In addition DNA, RNA, genetics and heredity will be examined. This project complements our first semester textbook studies while integrating subject matter from later in the course including multicellular organisms, human biology, health and disease. The images shown below are HIV, Streptococcus pyogenes and bacillus anthracis which are respectively responsible for AIDS, flesh eating disease and Anthrax.


   The project consists of two parts: 

  1. A scale model of an infectious organism such as a pathogenic virus or bacteria.
  2. A presentation to the class which may take the form of a powerpoint presentation that clearly illustrates pathogen morphology, mechanism of infection and impact on the host organism including diagrams, images, survival statistics and treatment options.

   The model should be thoroughly researched and well designed. Student pathogen presentations will discuss the disease, vaccines or antibiotics with which the pathogen is associated. Current and historic epidemiology should be addressed as well as the state of current research and disease eradication efforts.

   Students may choose one of the many viruses that have made headlines in the last decade such as Asian bird flu virus H5N1, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or West Nile Virus. Some students will want to work on Human Immunodeficiency virus or HIV with its enormous impact on communities here and around the world. Additional human viruses well worth exploring include Hepatitis A, B and C, Herpes simplex HSV-1 and HSV-2, Ebola and Yellow fever virus. The 1918 killer influenza virus was genetically reconstructed by Scientists in 2005 Students may even choose a virus that does not infect humans (many viruses only infect plants, fungi or bacteria). A good place to begin research is

   Students may prefer to work on a bacterial pathogen instead of a viral pathogen. Within the last decade bacterial diseases making news in the U.S. have included Anthrax (bacillus anthracis), Legionnaire’s disease (Legionella), Food poisoning (usually Staphylococcus or E. coli) and Flesh eating bacteria (Streptococcus pyogenes) Alternatively students may choose pathogenic bacteria that cause diseases of global and/or historic importance such as tuberculosistetanustyphoid feverdiphtheriasyphilis and leprosy. A good place to begin is 

   Projects contribute substantially to student science grades. Projects allow students to learn real science, research and engineering skills in ways that are impossible from merely reading a textbook. Grading criteria are provided below. Students should start early and have fun.

Rubric of Assessment for 11th grade Biology project: Pathogens                                        

To obtain an 'A' grade

•  The model should be carefully designed and accurately resemble the pathogen on which it is based.

•  The presentation contains a picture of the pathogen.

  A short journal is included detailing which pathogen was chosen and why. The pathogen name (common and scientific), host organism and mechanism of infection are provided. 

  Inventory is included that lists and costs all components used in the model. Total cost is calculated.

•  The size of the model and the size of the actual pathogen are included. All measurements must be provided in metric (SI) units only. 

•  Self-assessment is included which summarizes what the student learned, honestly discusses the deficiencies and strengths of the student project (model and presentation) and grades the assignment.

  Resources and bibliography are included. People, books, websites and other sources are fully acknowledged.

© Sean Wilmot 2012