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STEM Unit: Rotifers in Biology

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In this unit students will see the relevance of rotifers throughout the study of biology. Connections will be made during major units throughout the year to the research being conducted by Dr. Kristin Gribble and her fellow scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The lessons focus on the Science and Engineering Practices, along with key standards relating to cellular structure and function, genetics, evolution and ecology. Lessons are written to be used in a hybrid model and/or remotely during the 2020-2021 school year, but can be utilized in the future in person as well.This unit relates rotifers to scientific investigation, cellular structure and function, genetics, evolution and ecology. Students will make observations, and then collect and analyze data from a virtual experiment studying rotifer behavior. They will also use online databases to compare DNA sequences from rotifers and humans to better understand the relevance of rotifer experiments to biomedical research. In addition, students will learn about the presence of rotifers all around us and the role of rotifers in the environment and analyze potential effects of human behavior on rotifer populations. At the end of the unit students should have an appreciation for the use of rotifers as a model organism for biomedical research, as in Dr. Gribble’s lab, as well as environmental studies which are being done in other labs at MBL.