Web Quest
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An Internet WebQuest

NEW RESEARCH ON CELLS

Introduction

In this WebQuest, students will conduct Internet research on current scientific research involving cells as well as how cells function in the human body. Based on their Internet research, they will answer some questions about topics involving studies with cells. They will then document their research about a topic involving cells by writing a summary suitable for posting on the Internet.

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Task

While students are doing their Internet research, they will answer the set of questions provided. Each Web site has some of the answers to the questions, but several of the questions may require information from two or more of the Web sites. Students should be able to compile information to answer the questions as they read through each Web site.

Students should be supervised if they explore other Web sites beyond the prompts given. As students research the answers to the questions, they will also gather information to use as they write a summary about a current research topic involving cells or information about cells in the human body. This summary provides information about a specific topic related to cells and gives students an opportunity to practice a writing style suitable for publication on the Internet.

Objectives

  • Investigate recent research involving cells

  • Explore how cells work in the human body

  • Write a summary using a Web-based writing style

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Resources

Students will use the Internet links provided to find out about current research in cells. They will also read about how different types of cells in the human body work. They will write a summary about one of the topics they researched in the process of answering the questions posed in the WebQuest. The summary will be composed using a style following guidelines for publishing on the Internet.

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Time

1-2 days to answer the set of questions write a summary

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Process

As students progress through the list of Web sites, you may help them focus on what they need to know to answer the questions given. Several of the Web sites have links to other web sites with relevant information. If time allows, you may want to allow students to explore subjects related to current research topics about cells and how cells in our bodies work.

Students will then continue with their Internet research to write a summary about one of the topics they reviewed as they visited Web sites to answer questions.

They should use their research as well as visiting additional Web sites to find more information in order to write a summary about one particular investigation involving cells. Students should review the Web sites that offer techniques describing writing styles for Web-based content to review effective writing strategies.

Have students review the rubric to understand how their final product will be evaluated.

Encourage students to share their summaries with students in the class. If possible, allow students to post their summaries to a class or school Web page. Encourage students to use the feedback they receive as part of their self-assessment of the project.

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Evaluation
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Summary Rubric

You may assign 10 points to each of the 5 questions for a total of 50 possible points. Possible answers to the questions are given below. You may rate the answer to each question by the following point scale: Excellent 9-10 points; Very Good 7-8 points; Good 5-6 points; Satisfactory 3-4 points; Poor 1-2 points; and Unsatisfactory 0 points.

Possible Answers to Questions about Cells
Student answers will vary.

  1. Scientists think that some memory problems that people experience as they get older are related to damage to the hippocampus from overexposure to stress hormones. New studies have shown that we may actually be able to help hippocampus cells continue to divide and grow.

  2. Once a spinal cord injury happens, it is a difficult recovery process to get the damaged nerve cells to regrow. Future research will study how the use of an injured person's fat cells, treated with chemicals and growth factors, could be injected to do cellular repair.
  3. Student answers should include that scientists injected frog eggs with nuclei from human white blood cells. The substances in frog eggs may be able to be used to reprogram adult skin or blood cells, which could help repair the damages caused by diseases such as Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis.

  4. Schwann cells coat the nerve fibers that carry electrical impulses in the human body. Scientists know that multiple sclerosis patients have damage to the myelin sheath surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

  5. Student answers should include information on mucosa and epithelial cells.

Evaluating the Summary

Use the evaluation rubric or other means to assess each student’s summary. Evaluation of the summary should include self-assessment and teacher assessment. Students may want to base part of their self-assessment on feedback they receive from students who read their summaries.

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Conclusion

Using information gathered from the Internet, students should be able to answer the questions provided about current research involving cells. Students should have a greater understanding about the functions of cells in the human body. After completing their research to answer the questions, students should be able to summarize one of the topics they investigated using a style of writing suitable for publication on the Internet.

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