Attack of the giant viruses
Scientists have discovered a giant 30 000 year old virus still alive under the permafrost. As the world warms, others will be uncovered. Could such an ancient virus wipe out the human race? In this activity, learn how to interrogate sources to separate science fact from fiction.
- Apply knowledge of microorganisms to check the facts in a newspaper report.
- Evaluate how trustworthy scientific reports are in the media.
Blueprint curriculum link
- Unit: Cells
- Concept: Cell structure: Cells are the smallest elements of life that are alive. They have parts that play different roles in life functions
- Skills: Read: Identify bias
- Learning stage: Analyse
- Teachers guide
- PowerPoint file
The activity is delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download it.
The news story from the starter.
Another version of the news story from the starter which gives a more realistic viewpoint of what happened.
BBC news story about the giant virus
I downloaded this activity this morning and used it this afternoon! It worked really well to capture the attention of my rather passive lower set Yr10. The post-it note activity, identifying level of concern, worked very well. I only had one colour available but I found that worked better because there was no obvious difference between the groups. This itself triggered a conversation within the class, as one pair questioned another as to why they weren’t concerned. As the post-it notes went up they split easily in to two separate groups. I was then able to question the students with the most extreme responses in both directions to get them to explain their responses. One student commented that they could have been reading different stories! At this point I explained that they were the same story but in different papers.
As always you need to run a lesson through in order to stop the pitfalls. I printed the ‘newspaper’ articles in colour on thin card thinking I could reuse them, which I will be able to do. However I wish I had done them as consumables because it would have been really helpful for the students to use highlighters on their own copies to identify words or phrases new to them. I was surprised to find that some of them didn’t know the word ‘ancient’. Overall an enjoyable lesson and I will definitely use it again.