What can we learn from worms? How the nematode C. elegans maintains balance in a changing environment

Contributor: 
Genome Sciences Education Outreach (GSEO)
Your email: 
jcgriz@uw.edu

In this complete 5-lesson unit introducing C. elegans nematodes to high school students, students conduct an experiment comparing the effect of elevated salt in the environment on wild type worms and a mutant that is resistant to higher salt concentrations (or osmolarity, referred to as an OSM strain). Through this unit, students set up the experiment, make observations, analyze their results and other scientific evidence, and develop a model that explains their results. These activities guide students in learning how worms maintain homeostasis in an unfavorable environment caused by high osmotic stress and help them build an understanding of how genes and environment interact to determine traits. The curriculum is alignedwith Next Generation Science Standards and is designed around the 5E Learning Cycle Model developed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. The full curriculum, a one-page overview, and the accompanying PowerPoint presentation can be found here.

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