Science Take Out Kit

Use of Animals for Medical Testing

By Katie Hansen, Brooke Tisue and Daniel Graff

Summary of Activity

In General: Students compare structural and molecular evidence between humans, mice, cats and baboons in 6 different tests to test a smoking cessation drug NicoBlock. The drug is designed to interfere with the brain pleasure mechanisms that lead smokers to crave nicotine and continue smoking.

Test 1 Whole Brain: Students compare similarities and differences in brain structure and size.

Test 2 Brain Section Folds: Using cross sections of brains, students compare the number of folds between each.

Test 3 Nicotine Receptors: Students look at various brain tissue to determine if brain neurons have nicotine receptors.

Test 4 Nicotine Detoxifying Enzymes: Students drop liver enzymes on a test sheet and then look for bubbling once nicotine is detoxified.

Test 5 Proteins in Brain Fluid: Students simulate reading gel electrophoresis to determine similarities and differences in banding pattern.

Test 6 Differences in DNA sequences: Students count the differences between a human DNA sequences with the other various animals.

Analysis: Students analyze the annual cost of each animal as well as the ethical issues that arise with experimentation with animals.

Science Practices Introduced in this Activity

Science Practice 1: Student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.

Science Practice 4: The student can plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.

Science Practice 5: The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.

Science Practice 6: The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.

Science Practice 7: The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts and representations in and across domains.

Modifying Kit Materials to make More AP

1) Leave the human labeled in each test and take the labels away from all other animals. AP students would need to complete all tests and identify all unknown animals. (will take extra work from teacher)

2) Add an unknown to each test. Have students determine the evolutionary relationship between the unknown and the other animals.

Follow- Up Instruction or Extensions

1)Have AP students make a model that demonstrates NicoBlock.

2) Research a drug and figure out what animal was used and why.

3) Predict side effects of NicoBlock on chosen animal OR Predict how long it would take someone to stop smoking using NicoBlock.

4) Have groups of students complete different kits and present their kit to the class.

Content: Big Ideas, Enduring Understandings, Essential Knowledge

Bid Idea1: Process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.

Enduring Understandings / Essential Knowledge: 1A1, 1B1, 1B2

Big Idea 2: Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.

Enduring Understandings / Essential Knowledge: 2E1

Big Idea 3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes.

Enduring Understandings / Essential Knowledge: 3B2, 3D1, 3E2


Claim: Baboons are more closely related to humans.

Evidence: The 6 different tests performed.

Reasoning: 5 of the 6 tests indicated baboons were similar if not identical to humans.