News, features, learning expeditions, and reflections from the Franklin School of Innovation, shared by Edie McDowell, Director of Curriculum and Coaching

Franklin 10th Graders are on expedition to learn more about the evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, resulting in this current health crisis. This “Superbug!” Expedition is collaboratively designed by Franklin’s Biology, Math II, and English II teachers, SGold, Jill Padfield, and Laura Bubacz, respectively.

Guiding Questions for this adventure in learning:

What is antibiotic resistance and how does it occur?

How are mathematical models used to infer the probability of genetic mutation and spread of infection?

How are antibiotic resistant pathogens impacting public health?

In Biology, students are designing and conducting experiments to investigate bacterial resistance to antibiotics. They will use concluding data from these experiments as a starting point for a broader discussion/awareness campaign around prescription and use of antibiotics to treat infections/pathogens.

In Math II, students are examining how mathematical models can be used to infer the probability of genetic mutation and spread of infection. They will be using math to find the probability of the spread of a specific disease, deriving statistical data from scientific case studies, and calculating the probability of independent and dependent events. Students will choose from the big four bacterial disease threats (MRSA, Strep/pneumonia, salmonella, clostridium-difficille).

In English II, students will synthesize what they’ve learned about a specific disease to design and write a pamphlet for a patient audience that both informs and persuades.

Student-designed pamphlets will:

Explain how resistance occurs for that particular bacteria

Explain how that bacteria spreads and the probability of spread (¼ of pamphlet given to the probability and statistics of the spread of diseases and other concepts covered in their math classroom)

Inform patients how to use antibiotics appropriately to avoid the spread of antibiotic resistant disease

Explain why it’s important that patients take precautions (and assess the implications of not doing so)

Authentic Audience and Purpose: Students will contact partner doctor’s offices and distribute brochures later this spring.