With all the figuring out we did regarding our sick dog Susie and the awful disease that affected her (heartworm), it was time to answer all the questions we set out to figure out!
I am so proud of you sixth grade! Keep up the great work! I am going to miss you for SURE!
All this figuring out started with a cute little dog that seemed sick, and now it's escalated to a whole lot we now understand about a deadly disease and the mosquito that transmits it. It's now time for us to take action!
Thinking about our "cups" unit, we're figuring out how the temperature on the Earth has risen steadily, along with a surge in rainfall and intense storms.
With all this information, we're trying to see how friends that may see the solution as only one-sided, really need to think about a bigger picture! Check out the videos we watched, along with the argument from three friends and dog owners!
Understanding that the conditions for mosquitoes to survive are only getting better, it made more sense to figure out more about the mosquito, and heartworm disease itself! With some resources provided by students, we are putting more and more pieces together!
We even watched this video to confirm our understanding of how heartworm spreads.
Our next steps: Figuring out how we can help stop the spread, regardless of whether we have a dog or not!
With more data at our finger tips, we decided to dig deeper into them to help us better understand what is going on with heartworm transmission. Using data from a wide variety of reputable sources, we began seeing more patterns emerge, that help to explain a rise in heartworm rates across the United States:
We've seen steady increases in temperature, preciptiation rates, and population density across the country. With more natural disasters, like hurricanes on the rise, we're also seeing dogs being displaced more often, too.
So if the temperatures are increasing, there's more precipitation, and more people are living in areas where there used to not be as many people (and people are the ones who have dogs as pets), then it seems likely that all these factors are playing a role in heartworm spreading!
With an agreement on how the worms ended up in the dog (via the mosquito), we decided in was in our best interest to get info on other dogs. We had lots of questions though about mosquitoes, Susie/Buddy, and other dogs in general, too.
Using map data, we began to see some patterns that exist between various dogs, including the fact that not are there many dogs in the same town that have been infected with heartworm, but the number of cases increases over time.
With all this data, we really wanted to see if a model could help support the mosquito idea we agreed upon for heartworm's transmission. Check out all these ideas students came up with!
With all these ideas to build and test models for heartworm, Mrs. Brinza built and tested a model from students' suggestions!
We're convinced the mosquito plays a role now! Our next steps will be to use more data, but this time data that moves beyond Canine County!
With all of the medical records/exams back from Susie, we recognized that we should try and figure out the cause of how there was something getting into her blood and her heart. With a necropsy report of a dog with similar symptoms to Susie, we saw some pretty amazing stuff!
We set out to model how we thought the worms could be getting into the dog's blood and heart!
After a great discussion, we came to an agreement that the only possible way the worms could end up in the blood and the heart was because of a mosquito bite! From here, we came to consensus!
After a resounding agreement, we decided it was in our best interests that if we were going to figure out what was wrong with Susie, we needed not only her records, but the "standards" for what veterinarians use for what's considered normal for a small dog like her. We looked at a small animal check up guide and realized that there are "normal" things vets check for during a visit:
And because we are at a distance and our "LIVE" time together is limited, much of our initial launch of our Susie/Sick Dog unit meant students were asking questions. Mrs. Brinza compiled them all and made our Driving Question Board for students!
With Susie's records in hands, students are now seeing there is something severely wrong with Susie!
This led to new questions and next steps, many of which involve trying to figure out the foreign protein in her blood and the blockage in her heart. Maybe we can find out about Susie's condition by using data from other dogs with similar conditions??? We updated our DQB to reflect our new questions!
To kick off our culminating unit, we put ourselves into a new role: veterinary interns! This means we're going to think really critically as we try to help out some vets with some very important patients...dogs!
We watched some videos of adorable puppies who are most likely coming to the vet for a check-up. We noticed and wondered all kinds of great things using Jamboard!
But this made us realize that we don't always see animals coming to the vet for wellness visits; they can also visit because of illness. Check out this patient...
We had lots of questions for both Susie's owner and her vet!
With all these questions, we thought about our own lives and any connections to both the puppies and Susie visiting the vet!
We're thinking that if we need to figure out what's up with Susie, we should gather some data on not just her, but dogs in general. Using a Google Form, students came up with some great ideas for information that would help us with Susie! Hopefully Mrs. Brinza can help with students' requests!
This sick dog unit will culminate the end of the year. Please know that due to the sensitivity with COVID-19 at this time, we launched our unit with a discussion regarding the importance of scientific process when it comes to understanding illness transmission, treatment, and prevention. Stay well, everyone.