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Fighting Infections with Your Immune System

Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
75 minutes
Total Time
75 minutes
Area of Science
Human Biology & Health
Key Concepts
Immune system, Antibodies
Learning Objectives
  • Understand how several groups of cells in our immune system work together to fight pathogens.
  • Develop a model that demonstrates the function of antibodies and memory cells during a primary and secondary immune response.
  • Explain how memory cells accelerate an immune response using experimental evidence.
antibodies immune system overview

Overview

How does our body fight an infection when we get sick? In this lesson, students will build a model of our immune system to find out how our body responds to invading bacteria or viruses that cause diseases and to investigate the role of memory cells.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Developing and Using Models. Develop and use a model to describe phenomena.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Use an oral and written argument supported by evidence to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon.
LS1.A: Structure and Function. In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems. These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions.
Systems and System Models. Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

Models are limited in that they only represent certain aspects of the system under study.

Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Prediction. Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

Credits

Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials


Materials needed for antibodies immune system lesson plan activity.

Materials for teacher preparation:

  • Magnetic tape, about 1-inch width (3 inches per group); available from craft stores or online at Amazon.
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

Materials per group of 2–4 students:

  • Plastic wrap (about 1 foot)
  • Digital scale with 0.1 g increments; available at Amazon. Scales can be shared between groups.
  • Twist ties (3)
  • Glass jar with lid, 16 oz
  • Table salt (1 cup)
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring tablespoon
  • Iron filings (1 tbsp.); available from educational material suppliers or online at Amazon.
  • Piece of paper
  • Pencil or pen

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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
75 minutes
Total Time
75 minutes
Area of Science
Human Biology & Health
Key Concepts
Immune system, Antibodies
Learning Objectives
  • Understand how several groups of cells in our immune system work together to fight pathogens.
  • Develop a model that demonstrates the function of antibodies and memory cells during a primary and secondary immune response.
  • Explain how memory cells accelerate an immune response using experimental evidence.

Class Materials