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A Lesson in Aerobiology" The Mold Spores, Asthma & Allergy Project©

Real Science @ SchoolTM is a national school science data sharing hub supported by Home Health Science, Inc., makers of the MoldCheck™ Mold Test Kits. The "Mold Spores Asthma & Allergy Project©" is an Internet integrated classroom science lesson plan focusing on the examination of local weather variables as they effect the production of mold spores and the spores’ potential role in allergic responses.

The idea behind the project is to involve Junior High and High School students in collecting real time scientific data and apply it to the examination of a real problem (asthma) and share the data, observations and conclusions with other schools, through the Internet. Students and teachers will look for statistical correlations as expressed in the Internet pooled experimental data, which may precipitate further study. This is a first of its kind Internet enabled sharing of data from novel school science experiments dealing with the Weather, Bioaerosols, Asthma and Allergy.

The Mold Spores Asthma & Allergy Project Kit is comprised of a set of 10 microbiological spore capture film setups (sufficient for one class lesson of 10 days sampling), a lesson plan with data graphic templates, Internet information support sites and Internet data sharing hub.

This Kit is also ideal for A.P. Biology projects or science fair projects.

We welcome the ideas and suggestions of science teachers from across the country to improve upon this particular lesson plan concept and send us ideas for other Real Science @ School data sharing experiments, that you’d like to cooperatively study with other schools.

We welcome the ideas and suggestions of science teachers from across the country to improve upon this particular lesson plan concept and send us ideas for other Real Science @ School data sharing experiments, that you’d like to cooperatively study with other schools.

The key learning objectives in this Aerobiology lesson plan are:

  1. Definitions: Aerobiology – the study of airborne microorganisms; Bioaerosols – are airborne microscopic biological particles consisting of bacteria, mold spores, viruses, protozoans, and may include water droplets, soil and plant particles.
  2. Concepts- The students will understand the concept of Bioaerosols, Allergies, Allergen Triggers, Asthma, and multiple variables.
  3. Data Collection – The students will learn how to collect data relevant to airborne allergies and investigate the potential correlations between daily outdoor airborne mold spore counts, weather and student asthma symptoms, as presented to the school nurse. realsciencecharts Real Science at School
  4. Data Graphing – The class will collect and record the data for 10 days. The students will convert the data into mathematical representations and graph it for comparisons (see Figure 1). The Lesson Kit includes the four graph templates and an Internet real-time data graphing site (See #8 Below).
  5. Data Analysis – The students will learn how to examine data for correlations between several variables:

    A)
    Daily outdoor mold spore counts; and
    B) Daily multiple weather variables; and
    C) The number of daily school-wide asthmatic episodes reported to the nurse; and
    D) A daily pole of allergic symptoms reported by members of the class.

    NOTE: If the teacher is unable to obtain the number of each day’s asthmatic episodes, then the teacher can use the Allergic Responses Graph along with the Weather Data Graph. However, the student daily self reporting of "allergy symptoms data" lacks the objectivity "hard data" of a nurse’s numerical report.

  6. Experimental Design – Based on this lesson the students will learn the concept of designing and testing experiments with multiple variables.
  7. Multiple Variables – Based on this lesson the students will learn how to question the results of an experiment due to the presence of other potentially interfering but unmeasured variables, i.e., pollen, air pollutants, etc or subjective responses.
  8. Internet Data Sharing / Inter-School Dialogue – At the conclusion, the teacher is encouraged to assign a student to go online and post the data, findings and conclusions of this experiment onto this Internet data sharing site established for participating schools. E-mail your report to us at teach@realscienceatschool.com and we will post it on this web site.

Schools are encouraged to build a relationship with one or more of the posted sister school science classes by e-mailing them directly with their data, observations and conclusions relative to this experiment and enter into discussions and follow-up experiments.

An Aerobiology Lesson Plan

Field of Study: Aerobiology
Subject: Bioaerosols, Weather, Asthma & Allergy Episodes
Organism: Mold Spores in the Air
Core Concepts: * Microscopic Biological Organisms in the Air
* Data Collection (Spores, Weather, Symptoms)
* Converting Data to Mathematical Graphs
* Analyzing Multiple Variable Correlations
* Experimental Errors and Omissions
* The Scientific Method

Overview

Aerobiology is the study of airborne microscopic organisms — i.e. bacteria, molds, yeasts, viruses, algae and protozoans. A collection of airborne biological particles is called a Bioaerosol. The composition of the microbes in a Bioaerosol is usually determined by the source of soil, water and plants from which it came… or other event such as a sneeze. This particular study focuses on airborne microscopic biological organisms called mold spores and their potential impact on humans. This is a lesson which comprises a total of approximately 3 class periods (± 120 minutes) spread out over 6-11 school days of data gathering, analysis and conclusions. This is genuine scientific data collection experience and investigation and, therefore, requires the lesson concept to be initiated and discussed and then suspended while data is collected for up to 10 days, then analyzed, discussed and concluded.

The lesson is initiated with a teacher leading a discussion of asthma, allergies and allergens. In this lesson the teacher will discuss airborne allergens in general and mold spore allergens in particular. The initial class discussion will focus on allergies and asthma and the air which may contain a variety of irritants which will trigger allergic or asthmatic episodes.

Members of the class (data teams) will then collect outdoor mold spore data, weather data and asthma data (counts) from the school nurse for 10 day cycles. The data will be organized in graph form for comparison, analysis, and discussion of these variables and conclusions.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be engaged in a discussion of the "Scientific Method" and how it was used to design this experiment and how this experiment could be revised to look for additional evidence relative to airborne mold spores or other airborne particulate "triggers" which may cause allergic or asthmatic responses.

Lesson Duration:

One day of introduction plus up to 10 day cycles of data collection and a final day or two of graphing data, discussion and conclusions.

The School Science Kit Includes:

checkbox Real Science at School The Lesson Plan – which includes ready to use data graph templates and Internet information references and an Internet data sharing hub to input your class findings.

checkbox Real Science at School Easy to use instructions and graphics

checkbox Real Science at School MoldCheck™ Incubator Box, Liquid Ampules and Press

checkbox Real Science at School 10 MoldCheck™ Films that collect and grow mold spores that can be counted.

checkbox Real Science at School 10 Vials of Activator Solution

checkbox Real Science at School 1 Liquid Spreader

checkbox Real Science at School 1 Incubator Box

Other Needs:

  • Tape & Scissors (not in Kit)
  • 1 Clipboard or similar substitute (not in Kit)

MoldCheckProduct realscience Real Science at SchoolThe Kit – The MoldCheck™

The Airborne Mold Spore Detection Kit (see Figure 2).

MoldCheck™ represents a breakthrough in microbiological screening for bioaerosols.

"Petri dishes are out and thin film technology is in."

This kit uses patent-pending thin film micro technology which enables the user to capture mold spores on dry media film for long sampling periods with subsequent hydration and incubation.

The films and activating liquid are sterile and have up to a 12 month shelf life. These thin dehydrated media films are the new generation of a "Petri dish."

Here are the 6 EASY STEPS to a MoldCheck™ test!

6QuickSteps realscience Real Science at School

Data Organizing Tools:

  • A daily spore count data and graph template
  • A daily weather data and graph template
  • A daily asthma episode data and graph template

Lesson Support:

  • Lesson support literature – background information ("Bio Stars")
  • A web site for support, data downloading and sharing, and student, teacher, and school-to-school interaction – realscienceatschool.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Sean Reilly
Click Here To Email Us.
Director, Product Development
Home Health Science, Inc.

The Kit comes with 10 tests for each class lesson or can be adapted to other types of experiments. The school kit comes with full instructions and a structured lesson plan.