COVID-19 & Health Equity, Middle School Science - OpenSciEd
Unit Overview

COVID-19 & Health Equity, Middle School Science

How can people help end pandemics?

Unit Summary

The unit focuses on the question How can people help end pandemics? It is designed to teach students about the COVID-19 pandemic, transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and the impacts of the pandemic on communities.

Over the course of the unit, students will study the COVID-19 pandemic in light of historical pandemics to build an understanding of the following key concepts:

‚ÄĘ How the COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person and through communities,
‚ÄĘ How strategies to reduce transmission of COVID-19 work,
‚ÄĘ How the actions of individuals can help to end pandemics.

The unit also supports the development of two social emotional competencies: self awareness and social awareness.

The unit employs an inquiry-based approach and is designed for 15 class periods of instruction, with optional extensions. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, it is appropriate for use in middle school science, social studies, and health classes.

Additional Unit Information

Next Generation Science Standards Addressed in this Unit

Next Generation Science Standards: Science and Engineering Practices

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Students build toward these elements for middle school:

  • Practice 1: Asking Questions and Defining Problems.¬†
    • Ask questions to clarify and/or refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.
  • Practice 2: Developing and Using Models.¬†
    • Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.
  • Practice 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations.¬†
    • Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation.
  • Practice 4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data.
    • Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
  • Practice 7: Engaging in Argument from Evidence.¬†
    • Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.¬†
  • Practice 8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information¬†¬†
    • Integrate qualitative and/or quantitative scientific and/or technical information in written text with that contained in media and visual displays to clarify claims and findings.

Next Generation Science Standards: Crosscutting Concepts

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Next Generation Science Standards: Crosscutting Concepts. Students build toward these elements for middle school:

  • Crosscutting Concept 1: Patterns.¬†
    • Patterns can be used to identify cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Crosscutting Concept 3: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity.¬†
    • The observed function of natural and designed systems may change with scale.¬†
  • Crosscutting Concept 4: Systems and System Models.¬†
    • Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
  • Crosscutting Concept 6: Structure and Function
    • Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.
  • Crosscutting Concept 7: Stability and Change
    • Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.
    • Small changes in one part of a system might cause large changes in another part.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, & Emotional Learning (CASEL) Core Competencies

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  • Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one‚Äôs own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior.
    • identifying emotions¬†
    • self-efficacy¬†
  • Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.¬†
    • perspective-taking¬†
    • empathy¬†

Unit Acknowledgements

Unit Development Team

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  • Katie Van Horne, Unit Lead, Concolor Research
  • Lindsey Mohan, Unit Storyline and Production, BSCS Science Learning
  • Audrey Mohan, Unit Storyline and Production, BSCS Science Learning
  • Holly Hereau, Reviewer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Joy Barnes-Johnson, Writer, Morgan State University¬†
  • Sylvie Kademian, Writer, BSCS Science Learning¬†
  • Tyler Scaletta, Writer,¬†Chicago Public Schools
  • Dan Voss, Writer, Dallas Center-Grimes High School
  • Wayne Wright, Writer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Dawn Novak, Unit Storyline, BSCS Science Learning
  • Gail Housman, Unit Storyline, Northwestern University
  • Anna Switzer, Social Emotional Learning, BSCS Science Learning

Project Leadership

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  • Lindsey Mohan, Division Director, Instructional Materials Development, BSCS Science Learning
  • Danny Edelson, Executive Director, BSCS Science Learning

Production Team

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  • Ren√©e DeVaul, Copyeditor, BSCS Science Learning
  • Becca Greer, Project Coordinator, BSCS Science Learning
  • Chris Moraine, Multimedia Graphic Designer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Kate Chambers, Multimedia Graphic Designer, BSCS Science Learning

Contributing Experts

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The development team consulted with the following experts to inform their development of the unit.

  • Larry Gold, SomaLogic¬†
  • Ashley St. John, Duke-NUS Medical School¬†¬†
  • Maria Sundaram, Emory University¬†
  • Tiffany Clark, Seattle, WA
  • Claudia Ludwig, Institute for Systems Biology
  • Becky Howsmon, Institute for Systems Biology

The development team wants to thank the following experts who reviewed parts of the unit. 

  • Marceline DuBose, Lead Equity Specialist, Due East Educational Equity Collaborative
Unit standards

This unit builds toward the following standards:

  • Next Generation Science Standards: Science and Engineering Practices
  • Next Generation Science Standards: Crosscutting Concepts
  • Collaborative for Academic, Social, & Emotional Learning (CASEL) Core Competencies