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Why are Valley fever case numbers increasing over time?

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Why are Valley fever case numbers increasing over time?

Is Lesson Plan High School

Sensemaking Checklist

What is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

High school students, as scientists, investigate natural selection and fungi to answer the driving question: Why are Valley fever case numbers increasing over time? Students begin by considering causes of illness in general, and learn about Valley fever, which is caused by two species of Coccidioides fungi. Students analyze data and notice that cases have been rising. Students create an initial model to explain the rise in Valley fever cases and consider how they might investigate their questions. Next, students evaluate information to try to determine if humans have changed, if the two Coccidioides species have changed, or if the environment has changed during the time period of the increase in Valley fever cases. Finally, students develop a Class Consensus Model that explains the factors that could have contributed to the increase in Valley fever cases. Students also consider strategies that could protect people from Valley fever.

This lesson plan was created in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Press, the Johns Hopkins Office of Research, and Dr. Arturo Casadevall, based on his 2024 Wavelengths book, What if Fungi Win?

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Student Materials

Teacher Materials

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