Here’s a great freebie, courtesy of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. They offer their 9th grade curriculum, “Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses,” absolutely free online.
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.
The university describes the goals of the curriculum as teaching 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.
The course includes a 69-page PDF teacher’s manual with worksheets and teaching guides, and 8 professional development videos.
Here are some examples of the activities included.
Note that the curriculum was designed for classroom use and includes a number of materials that are expected to be purchased, such as specific slides and some equipment. Homeschoolers can easily adapt the curriculum to meet their individual needs. Also, while it’s designed for 9th grade, it could easily be adapted for younger kids.
The curriculum was 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).
To find out more about the curriculum and download a copy, click here.