I wish that I had more opportunity to submit weekly reports from my Disease and Society class. They are doing so many cool things! For me it has been so much fun to come up with interesting questions to let students explore. Toward the end of the semester I will likely do a full autopsy of the course, but for now let me transition on into the unit that we've just begun.
What is the TRUE cost of one night? Somehow America has reached the incredible distinction of having 1 in 3 of its residents infect with an STD. The thing that I found so astounding is that it is a topic rarely talked about. Granted, topics of sex are totally taboo, but change comes with education. People can't do things differently unless they know that there is a reason to do things differently. At the moment the students of Disease and Society are producing PSA videos and infographics about the true cost of one careless night. I've heard some interesting ideas floating around and am really excited to see what they actually come up with. This is their 5th project and so far I've been amazed with every submission.
Before I get out of the way for a wonderful week in review by Amira Al-Amin, I must give a little detail on the disease transmission activity that I used to start the unit. Each student selected a test tube from a rack at the front of the room. All of the tubes, except one, were filled with water. The "infected" tube contained sodium hydroxide, a colorless and mostly odorless, basic solution. Side note, bleach would have worked equally well. The students were then instructed to meet with 5 people. Each meeting was to include the mixing of tube contents and the recording of names. Following the interactions each student came up for a test. A little phenolthalein will easily indicate the presence of a basic substance by turning the solution bright pink. Students loved it and immediately started accusing one another of being the infected. We wrapped the activity up by putting the contact records of each infected person on the board and figuring out who the original carrier was (sorry Victoria). The activity was a great way to illustrate how quickly and easily a disease can spread.
So, without further delay here is Amira Al-Amin reflecting on the week of 4/8-4/12.
We started off the week presenting the project around the driving questions why might us as kids not live as long as our parents. We had a guest come in to listen to our presentations. She loved the fact we talked about parents being involved. Then we did a lab on the consequences of having a one-night stand. We all had a tube full of water but one of us had one full of a chemical. We had no clue what tube was what. Soon after we got a sheet of paper and mixed with 5 people. You poured the tubes in to one of them then split it half with each other. Then are instructor put a squeeze of something else in a tube if yours turned pink you had caught the disease / infection. This is a prime example of how life goes .you never know what your going to get so be careful. Is one night really worth it, speaking long term that is? Are next topic was to make a video on the history of syphilis/ STD etc. The main question was is this still happening today? The last day we had an open conversation on what makes a good PSA. It has to keep you engaged, gets the point across with in a few seconds. Let alone be memorable.