9th Grade Pilot Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses 2012

Developed by:

Joe Ruhl: Lafayette School Corporation, Lafayette Jefferson High School

Jenny Veatch: Crawfordsville High School, Crawfordsville Community School Corporation


The 9th grade biology curriculum is already full and teachers often feel pressured by trying to cover everything during the course of the school year. With that in mind, this 9th grade biology unit was designed not to be an “add-on”, but rather to provide a new and exciting way to teach standard concepts that biology teachers already teach. With this unit, biology teachers will still teach concepts such as the scientific method, the use of compound and dissecting microscopes, animal diversity, life cycles, cells, biochemistry, and the social implications of the biological sciences. The only difference is that this unit will enable teachers to teach these concepts with a real-world, practical application approach and by using examples from veterinary and human medicine. Relevancy is a natural with this unit because kids have a heart for their pets. Kids have firsthand (sometimes painful) familiarity with sickness, medications, and medical procedures both in their pets and in themselves and their family members. Our belief is that this relevant, practical approach will help kids to better learn biology and to better understand the role that animals play in keeping people healthy.

Please see Academic Standards for a list of the Indiana Academic Standards met by this curricula.


The goals of this project are to teach 9th grade biology students the role animals play in keeping people healthy by:

1. Helping students appreciate that all organisms – humans and other animals such as dogs and horses – are made of the same “stuff” (cells, macromolecules, and molecules).

2. Helping students to understand that because of the commonality and relatedness of all life, pharmaceuticals produced for humans can be tested on non-human animals, and medical procedures perfected in non-human animals can then be applied to us, making for healthier pets, livestock, and humans.

9th Grade Teacher's Guide Manual (PDF)

9th Grade Curriculum

Academic Standards

9th Grade Health and Wellness Standards

HW.1.1 Document how personal behaviors can impact health.
HW.1.2 Explain the interrelationships of emotional, social and physical health.
HW.1.5 Formulate ways to prevent or reduce the risk of health problems.
HW.1.7 Summarize the benefits and barriers to practicing healthy behaviors.
HW.7.2 Examine individual responsibility for improving health.
HW.7.3 Illustrate a variety of healthy practices that will maintain or improve health.

9th Grade Biology Standards

B.1.1 Recognize that and explain how the many cells in an individual can be very different from one another, even though they are all descended from a single cell and thus have essentially identical genetic instructions. Understand that different parts of the genetic instructions are used in different types of cells and are influenced by the cell's environment and past history.
B.1.2 Explain that every cell is covered by a membrane that controls what can enter and leave the cell. Recognize that in all but quite primitive cells, a complex network of proteins provides organization and shape. In addition, understand that flagella and/or cilia may allow some Protista, some Monera, and some animal cells to move.
B.1.3 Know and describe that within the cell are specialized parts for the transport of materials, energy capture and release, protein building, waste disposal, information feedback, and movement. In addition to these basic cellular functions common to all cells, understand that most cells in multicellular organisms perform some special functions that others do not.
B.1.4 Understand and describe that the work of the cell is carried out by the many different types of molecules it assembles, such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.
B.1.6 Show that a living cell is composed mainly of a small number of chemical elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur. Recognize that carbon can join to other carbon atoms in chains and rings to form large and complex molecules.
B.1.8 Understand and describe that all growth and development is a consequence of an increase in cell number, cell size, and/or cell products. Explain that cellular differentiation results from gene expression and/or environmental influence. Differentiate between mitosis and meiosis.
B.1.15 Understand and explain that, in biological systems, structure and function must be considered together.
B.1.17 Understand that and describe how the maintenance of a relatively stable internal environment is required for the continuation of life and explain how stability is challenged by changing physical, chemical, and environmental conditions, as well as the presence of disease agents.
B.1.20 Recognize that and describe how the human immune system is designed to protect against microscopic organisms and foreign substances that enter from outside the body and against some cancer cells that arise within.

Teacher Resources

Lesson 1: Scientific Method

How about a bit of a “twist” on C.S.I. on this by working through an unknown disease/problem with a dog? Vets, doctors, etc. do the scientific method every day when they are addressing patient’s ailments.


To help students realize there are many ways to interpret things which is why many hypotheses prove to be wrong and why experiments MUST be done.



1. Show the video "Buddy Visits the Veterinarian."

Watch this video online or Download this video (~73 MB)

2. After the video ask the following questions to the class with the goal of aiming the conversation toward the scientific method:

  • What is the problem/question at hand?
    • Brainstorm as a group
  • What do we know?
  • What is our hypothesis?
    • Have the class collaborate on what they feel is the most plausible explanation for Buddy's ailments.
  • What tools the veterinarian use in his experiment?

Buddy visits the veterinarian students watching

Professional Development Video for Lesson 1: Buddy visits the veterinarian

Professional Development Video for Lesson 1: Elephant Poem

Lesson 2: Compound Microscope Lab

Many people use microscopes daily. Lab technicians, doctors, and veterinarians use them to diagnose diseases in people and in animals. Even though it’s been around for years, the microscope is still one of the best “windows” into the world of disease.

“Micro” means tiny, “scope” means to view or look at. There are many different types of microscopes. The compound light microscope is the most common instrument used today. It contains two lenses which magnify and a variety of knobs to resolve (focus) the picture. It is a rather simple piece of equipment to understand and use. In this lab, we are going to learn the proper use and handling of the microscope.


  • Demonstrate the proper procedures used in correctly using the compound light microscope.
  • Prepare and use a wet mount.
  • Determine the total magnification of the microscope.
  • Develop a checklist to ensure proper handling of the microscope.
  • Understand the importance of microscopes as a diagnostic tool in many careers.



Professional Development Video for Lesson 2

Lesson 3: Freshwater Invertebrate Lab

Another one of the tools that can be useful in both veterinary medicine and human medicine is the dissecting microscope. This microscope (normally a binocular scope) doesn’t have the magnification powers of a compound microscope. It can be used, though, to study organisms that are macroscopic, yet still too small to see with the unaided eye. In this lesson we will help students learn to use a dissecting microscope by searching for tiny freshwater invertebrates in samples of pond water.

In addition to the materials listed in the student lab entitled “Hunting for Freshwater Invertebrates”, you will need to collect a couple plastic buckets of pond water. It is best to collect water from a quiet swamp that is covered with an abundant growth of duckweed and full of luxuriant aquatic plants. Early fall or spring would be the best time to do this activity. Also listed in the materials section of the student lab is an item known as a foam-well slide. These slides will need to be constructed before the students do the lab. For instructions on how to make the foam-well slides, refer to the following web site:



  • Demonstrate the proper procedures used in correctly using the dissecting microscope.
  • Prepare and observe a petri dish of pond water using the dissecting microscope.
  • Identify common pond water micro invertebrates that are related to invertebrates that can cause diseases in humans and other non-human animals.



  • Hand out the lesson notes entitled “Some Freshwater Invertebrates You Might Find” (Activity 3-1)
  • Point out to the students that dissecting microscopes can be very useful tools in both veterinary and human medicine. Explain that they will learn to use these instruments by taking a safari through pond water to discover the secret lives of tiny creatures that most people don’t even know exist.
  • As a preview to the pond water lab activity, go through the PowerPoint presentation entitled “Fresh Water Invertebrates” (Large PDF ~ 75 MB) with the students. It may be helpful to make an overhead transparency of each page of the lesson notes entitled “Some Freshwater Invertebrates You Might Find”. You could then use a two-screen presentation, helping the students fill out the lesson notes on the overhead projector on one screen while showing the PowerPoint presentation on the second screen. This presentation is designed not to teach students everything there is to know about freshwater invertebrates, but to familiarize them with some of the fascinating tiny creatures that they will encounter in the lab. They will be amazed at what they will discover, and at the same time, they will master the use of the dissecting microscope.
  • Have the students do the lab entitled “Hunting for Freshwater Invertebrates” (Activity 3-2).

Professional Development Video for Lesson 3

Professional Development Video for Lesson 3 - Poor Person's Plankton Net

students working the freshwater invertebrate lab students working the freshwater invertebrate lab

Lesson 4: Tiny Invertebrates That Can Make Our Animals (and US!) Sick

Now that your students have been introduced to the invertebrate world, it’s time to show them some relatives of their benign little freshwater invertebrate friends who aren’t so friendly.


  • Observe examples of various invertebrates that can cause diseases in humans and other non-human animals.
  • Explore the life cycles of disease-causing and disease-carrying invertebrates.
  • Prepare a poster that illustrates the life cycle of a disease-causing or disease-carrying invertebrate, and make a presentation of that life cycle to the rest of the class.


  • Preserved samples of a tapeworm
  • Prepared slides of mites
  • Prepared slides of deer ticks
  • Microscopes
  • Poster board or chart paper
  • Markers
  • Preserved specimines of roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and heartworm (Nemata collection)

<em>Nemata Collection</em>. Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company</a>.

Nemata Collection. Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company.

<em>Mite,w.m..</em> Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company.

Mite,w.m. 30-7584 (Z1790). Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company.

<em>Tick and Mite,w.m..</em> Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply  Company.

Tick and Mite,w.m. 30-7560 (Z1785). Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company.

Tapeworm (Taenia sp.)

Tapeworm (Taenia sp.) Bio-Plastic Mount. 55-0550 Rochester NY: Ward's Natural Science.

Tapeworm Proglottids Comparison

Tapeworm Proglottids Comparison, w.m. 30-6610 (Z970) Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company.


  • Prior to the lab, set up various stations with worm samples, prepared slides and microscopes.
  • Explain to students that they should observe the specimens carefully at each station. In their notebooks they should then write down which group of invertebrates they think the specimen is related to (reference lesson 3, Activity 3-1).
  • After the students have been through all the stations, discuss as a class which groups of invertebrates they think each of the specimens is related to and why. The discussion should be directed to ensure the students realize that closely related organisms share similar characteristics.
  • Assign each group a specimen from today’s learning stations. Have each group do some Internet investigating to learn about the life cycle of their assigned organism.
  • Each group should design and produce a poster illustrating their organism’s life cycle. The poster should include a title (which includes the name of the invertebrate), a picture of the life cycle, and text to describe the life cycle and what types of organisms it can infect.
    • Examples for research could include, but are not limited to: Deer Tick, Toxocara Canis, Toxascaris Leonine (or any other type of roundworms found in animals), Dirofilaria immitis (heartworms found in dogs), tapeworms, whipworms, ear mites, etc.
  • Have each group present their poster and teach their organism’s life cycle to the rest of the class.
  • Following the presentations, hold a discussion with the entire class focusing on the following questions:
    • What did the different life cycles of the disease-causing organisms all have in common?
    • Which organisms cause disease directly?
    • Which organisms transmit (rather than cause) disease?
    • For each organism, what are some ways that infection could be prevented?
      • What are some ways that infection can be treated or cured?

Professional Development Video for Lesson 4

Lesson 5: Deer Ticks-Tiny inverts that transmit Lyme Disease!

Now that your students know something about invertebrates that can make humans and animals sick, it’s time to look closely at one example-Lyme disease which is transmitted by the deer tick. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is known as a spirochete because of its long, corkscrew shape. Ini this lesson, your students will carry out a simulated ELISA test for antibodies in the simulate blood of several “patients”.


  • Using a simulation kit, perform an ELISA assay to test several fictitious patients for Lyme disease.


  • Deer tick/Lyme disease student poster from Lesson 4
  • ELISA Simulation Kit (Lyme disease scenario, page P-2)
  • ELISA Simulation Student Guide (Student guide comes with the Carolina Biological Supply Kit)

ELISA Simulation Kit. Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company.

ELISA Simulation Kit. Burlington, NC: Carolina Biological Supply Company.


  • Pull out the poster produced by the group that reported on the deer tick/Lyme disease cycle (from Lesson 4).
  • Tell the students that sometimes in veterinary medicine and in human medicine, a doctor will need to draw a blood sample from the patient to test for the presence of certain suspected disease-causing organisms. Ask the students the following question:
    • When that blood sample goes to the laboratory, what kinds of tests are done on the sample?
  • Tell the students that today they will learn about one test that can be performed to check for Lyme disease infection.
  • Using the ELISA Simulation Kit, have the students work through the lab activity using the ELISA technique to test the blood samples of several “patients” for Lyme disease.
  • As a follow-up to the lab activity, have the students work in groups of three on answering the questions in the student guide part of the kit.
  • Pose the following questions and comments to the students:
    • Do you think this same blood test (ELISA test) would detect Lyme disease antibodies in non-human animals such as deer or cows?
      • The answer is “Yes!"
    • Why would this same test work on humans as well as other animals?
      • Humans and other animals are made out of the same stuff! In the next lesson, we’ll find out just what that means.

Professional Development Video for Lesson 5

lesson 5 lesson 5

Lesson 6: All Living Things are Made of the Same 'Stuff'

Back in Lesson 2, not only did the students learn how to use the compound microscope, they also learned just how similar the cells of different (seemingly unrelated) organisms are when viewed through the microscope. Now that the students are aware of the similarities of all living things on the cellular level we’ll go even deeper than that-to the level of the organelles that make up cells.


  • Students will begin to discover similarities between humans and other organisms



  • Begin a discussion with the students about the similarities between humans and other organisms.
    • Humans can catch Lyme disease and, as we have learned, the same bacterium that causes the disease can survive in other animals as well. Many disease-causing organisms can infect both our animals and us.
    • How is that possible? [Because we and our animals (dogs, horses, etc.) are made of the same “stuff”.]
    • Just what does that mean? (It means we and all other living things are made of cells. But it goes much deeper than that.)
  • The cells of all living things contain the same miniature working parts called organelles. The kinship of all life on earth goes even deeper than that. The cells and organelles of all living things are made up of the same kinds of molecules, and it’s a good thing! Because we and all other living things are made of the same “stuff”, drugs and medicines produced for animals can be used on humans as well. Drugs and medicines produced specifically for humans can be tested on animals and we can be confident in the results of those tests.
  • In this lesson we will look closely at the anatomy, cells, organelles and molecules that make up not only humans, but our non-human animal companions and other living things.
  • Hand out the “Dear Fido” activity (activity 6-1) to each student or group. In this activity students will be comparing dog and human skeletons.
  • Using small stickers or masking tape, label the following bones on the dog skeleton (do NOT include the names on the labels, just the letters):
    • A = radius
    • B = humerus
    • C= cranium
    • D = femur
    • E = tibia
    • F = pelvis
    • G = fibula
    • H = ulna
    • I = patella
    • J = phalanges (forelimb)
    • K = scapula
  • Using small stickers or pieces of masking tape, label the following bones on the humanskeleton (do NOT include the names on the labels, just the numbers):
    • 1 = pelvis
    • 2 = cranium
    • 3 = patella
    • 4 = humerus
    • 5 = ulna
    • 6 = scapula
    • 7 = radius
    • 8 = femur
    • 9 = phalanges (hand)
    • 10 = fibula
    • 11 = tibia
  • Introduce the activity by asking the students the following questions:
    • Do you have a dog?
    • How well do you know your dog inside and out?
    • How well do you know yourself inside and out?
  • In this activity we will investigate some of the similarities between dogs and humans, specifically as seen in the skeletons.
  • Give students Activity 6-1 and instruct them to follow the directions.
  • Give students Activity 6-2 and instruct them to follow the directions.
  • As a follow-up to the “How the Cell Works” activity, show the students the PowerPoint presentation entitled “Cell Organelles”. In this presentation you and the students will be looking at electron micrographs of key cell organelles in cells of dogs, horses and humans. Compare the fibroblast mitochondrion of Humans(.pdf), Dogs(.pdf) and Horses(.pdf) created by Dr. Ron Hullinger from Purdue Veterinary Medicine.
    • You might want to incorporate a guessing game into the presentation. See if the students can guess which organisms the different photographs came from. The will soon discover that on the level of cells and organelles, it is very difficult to tell a dog from a horse to a human.
  • Have the students do the activity entitled “Building Models of Molecules” (Activity 6-3). In this fun, hands-on activity the students will build models of biologically important molecules. Students will use different colored gumdrops to represent atoms and toothpicks to represent the bonds holding the atoms together in the molecules.
  • As a follow-up to the “Building Models of Molecules” activity, choose one of the posters of molecules produced by one of the student groups.
    • Hold up the poster and discuss the importance of each kind of molecule with the class. Some possible discussion questions or comments may include:
      • Why is O2 important?
      • Where does O2 come from?
      • Where does CO2 come from?
      • Take a look at glucose. Where does glucose come from?
      • When plants manufacture glucose (photosynthesis) where do you think they get the carbon atoms that eventually end up in the glucose molecule?
        • Where do you think they get the hydrogen atoms?
      • Why are amino acid molecules important?
    • Using children’s plastic, linking building blocks of various colors (to represent amino acids), demonstrate how proteins are built by linking the building blocks together end-to-end.
      • Why are protein molecules important?
    • Point out that the antibodies that they learned about in the ELISA lab are actually protein molecules (long strings of amino acids). Remind the students that there are millions of different kinds of protein molecules in all the living things on the earth, and that these proteins are all made of different combinations of just 20 different kinds of amino acids.
    • Tell the students that because all living things are made of the same kinds of molecules, drugs and medicines produced for humans can be tested on other animals. In the next series of lessons we’ll take a look at how drugs can be developed and tested on experimental animals. Drugs can then be given to humans and our non-human animal companions.
  • This unit should come after discussing the cellular components and the cell cycle in detail. This lesson is very self-directed and will need very little teacher direction, if the students have a clear understanding of the cell cycle prior to introduction of it.
  • The first part of Activity 6-4 entitled “What is Cancer?” is a web quest that has students research the very basics of cancer using the Livestrong and Cancer.org websites.
  • After doing the Cancer web quest, students should then do the second part of the activity titled “How is Fido Going to Help People?” This lesson will illustrate how cancers detected in people’s pets are used in research to not only treat/cure the animal, but to also find treatments and cures for people. Cancer research centers, like the one at Purdue University, rely on the data that is gleaned from scientists who study animals and their diseases.

Professional Development Video for Lesson 6

students comparing the anatomy of dogs and humans

Lesson 7: Ethics/ Animal Testing/ Drug Development

You may want to use the Think-Pair-Share technique for discussing the readings in this lesson. A description of Think-Pair-Share is located at http://www.readingquest.org/strat/tps.html.


  • Using online and print resources, the student will become aware of the ethics involved in animal testing.
  • By viewing a video produced by Eli Lilly, students will answer questions about the procedure and importance of the drug development process.
  • Using the knowledge gained by the activities in lesson 7, students will write a well developed paragraph defending their views on ethics, research and development for a given scenario.



  • Introduce the lesson to students by saying:
    • We just discussed how organisms are similar in many ways. The reason drugs and medical treatments designed for humans can be tested on non-human animals is because we are all made up of the same “stuff”. But sometimes controversy arises…
  • Have students read “Of Cures and Creatures Great and Small” (Activity 7-1)
  • After reading discuss the questions from the reading:
    • What is animal testing?
    • Give some reasons why animal testing is necessary.
    • Who might be against animal testing and what are their reasons?
    • Share your personal opinion and feelings on animal testing.
  • Have students read “Ethics and Biology” (Activity 7-2) and answer the question.
  • At this time it might be appropriate to discuss the readings.
  • Invite the guest speaker to discuss ethics with the class.
  • Break the class into small groups to discuss the video and give each group a printout of the discussion questions (Activity 7-3).

Professional Development Video for Lesson 7

Lesson 8: Cloning

Cloning can be a hot topic for students because its futuristic uses and abuses have been the subject of numerous science fiction films and even some comedies. Your students may have a little background knowledge of cloning, and they certainly will have some misinformation on the topic! In this lesson, students will learn about why it is so important to use laboratory animals that are genetically similar, and how cloning can be used to provide genetically identical copies of laboratory research animals.


  • Using the University of Utah’s Learn.Genetics website, discover the details of cloning, and clone a laboratory mouse in the website’s virtual cloning laboratory.
  • Explain how reproductive cloning of laboratory animals could be beneficial in experiments involving in vivo testing of pharmaceuticals.



  • In discussion with the students, refer back to previous lessons on the importance of laboratory animal testing in medical research. Ask the students the following questions:
    • When testing drugs or other medicines on laboratory test animals, why is it so important to have animals that are genetically very similar?
      • (Answer: In experiments of any kind, it is important to attempt to control all variables. If all of the research animals in a test group were different, there would be too many uncontrolled variables. If all of the animals in a test group were similar, we could be more confident of the experimental results.)
    • Why is it that all pedigreed German Shepherd Dogs are so alike genetically?
      • (Answer: German Shepherd Dogs – as all other breeds of dogs – have been selectively bred over many generations to be purebred.)
    • It’s true that all German Shepherd Dogs are very similar, genetically, but no two German Shepherd dogs are EXACTLY identical (except for identical twins) in every little molecular detail. How COULD identical, exact copies of German Shepherd dogs (or any other living thing for that matter) be produced?
      • (Answer: Reproductive cloning.)
    • Wouldn’t it be great if we could create genetically identical copies of laboratory test animals (rats or mice for example) using the process of reproductive cloning? Then when it comes to animal testing experiments, all those pesky little variables could be controlled, and we could be even more confident of our test results.
  • Introduce the students to the Internet activity entitled “Cloning” (Activity 8-1). This fun, highly interactive website will engage the students and help them learn about the history and the techniques involved in reporductive cloning.

Professional Development Video for Lesson 8

The project described is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

NIH . . . Turning Discovery Into Health

Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of ORIP or NIH.

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