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Face Mites Course Module

Guide students through the importance of scientific research on unknown organisms through a dynamic Paideia seminar highlighting our arthropod friends living in our faces: Demodex face mites. Students will then collect face mites from the faces of their teachers and then design an experiment to maximize the likelihood that face mites will be collected – increasing the ability for more people to meet their mites. Then, students will use the DNA sequences of Demodex face mites from humans and other mammals to reconstruct an evolutionary tree using phylogenetic software.

Lessons Outline

Lesson One: The Seminar

  • Paideia Seminar: The Value of Scientific Research
  • Middle School, 6th-8th grade

Lesson Two: Mite Collection and DNA Extraction

  • They Live on Your Face: Demodex
  • Middle School, 7th grade

Lesson Three: DNA Sequences

  • Evolution The Mite-y Link
  • Middle School, 8th grade

Project Resources

Curriculum Alignment (Lesson Two)

Next Generation Science Standards

  • 7.L.2 Understand the relationship of the mechanisms of cellular reproduction, patterns of inheritance and external factors to potential variation among offspring.

Next Generation Science Standards

  • MS-LS1-1. Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
[Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on developing evidence that living things are made of cells, distinguishing between living and non-living things, and understanding that living things may be made of one cell or many and varied cells.]
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
  • Common Core

    • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.SP.A.1 Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population. Understand that random sampling tends to produce representative samples and support valid inferences.
    • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.SP.C.8.C Design and use a simulation to generate frequencies for compound events. For example, use random digits as a simulation tool to approximate the answer to the question: If 40% of donors have type A blood, what is the probability that it will take at least 4 donors to find one with type A blood?
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.C Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

    Curriculum Alignment (Lesson Three)

    NC Essential Standards

    • 8.L.4.1 Summarize the use of evidence drawn from geology, fossils and comparative anatomy to form the basis for biological classification systems and the theory of evolution.

    Next Generation Science Standards

    • MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
    • MS-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past
    • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.

    Common Core

    • ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. (Students will work on this standard as they read the articles in the “Explain” portion of the lesson.)
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.