Engage & Learn

Lesson Plan: Diagnosing Tiny Tim

Here is good example of how to use a play to explore science and teach scientific inquiry.

In this activity the students will explore the potential medical conditions that Tiny Tim has through a process of scientific observations and inferences. In addition, students will explore potential treatment options for Tiny Tim. In doing so, students will also consider the tentative nature of science by assessing how the diagnosis and treatment may differ during the time period of the Dickens’ story and present day.

Based on the details presented be Dickens in A Christmas Carol, what is the best diagnosis for Tiny Tim and what are his treatment options?

Students will be explore the role of observation and inference in the nature of science.

Students will define 4 possible illnesses afflicting Tiny Tim.

Students will assimilate their knowledge of the illnesses and the details of Tiny Tim’s condition to develop arguments for and against each illness in Tim’s case.

Students will explore the tentative nature of science through a comparison of present day and 1830 medical science.

One of the most endearing characters in English literature is Tiny Tim, the crippled son of Ebenezer Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit. Yet the nature of Tiny Tim’s multifaceted and implicitly reversible illness is a mystery and open to debate and speculation. From details of the original manuscript and the eight film versions, it is possible to construct a differential diagnosis for Tim’s short stature, asymmetric crippling disorder, and curious intermittent weakness that would lead to his death, if untreated, within a period of 1 year. Following the ghostly visitations, Scrooge vows to assist the struggling Cratchit family financially, thereby making available the best medical care money could buy.

Doctors and scientists have reviewed the details of Tiny Tim’s condition in the Dickens story and have narrowed the potential conditions to the following:

1. Rickets
2. Tuberculosis
3. Renal Tubular Acidosis, a type of Kidney Disease
4. Polio

Your task is to determine which of these illnesses best fits Tiny Tim’s condition based on the evidence presented in the Dicken’s story. In addition to diagnosing Tiny Tim, you will suggest appropriate treatment options based your diagnosis.

The students will create informational posters about each of the 4 potential illnesses of Tiny Tim. In addition, the students will debate and produce 2 diagnosis letters for the Cratchit family with one based on present day and one based on 1830’s medical knowledge.

Rubric and Criteria

Presentations Checklist None Task Attempted Task Partially Attempted Task Completed Comments
Explain the science. Discuss the science related to your chosen topic. 

Rickets

Tuberculosis

Renal Tubular Acidosis

Polio

Include the following for each:

What the condition is.

What causes the condition.

What the symptoms of the condition are.

What will occur if the condition goes untreated.

What the treatment is for this condition.

Is there a way to prevent this illness?

Demonstrate the tentative nature of science. Present how our understanding and treatment of these illnesses have changed from the 1830’s to present day through your letters to the Cratchit family.
SCORE 0 5 6 7 8 9 10
OVERALL CRITERION SCORE
Presentations Checklist None Task Attempted Task Partially Attempted Task Completed Comments
Communicate effectively using scientific language. Use appropriate technical/scientific language to explain the science related to your topic.
Present all of the information using appropriate visuals and format. Present a two appropriate visuals related to your topic. 

Use the standard professional letter format

Use proper paragraphs and complete sentences

Spell check

Acknowledge your sources. Provide a bibliography of at least 2 sources used on your informational posters.
SCORE 0 5 6 7 8 9 10
OVERALL CRITERION SCORE

 

Standards Met with this Lesson Plan:

    IL Learning Standards
    English Language Arts
    • 2. Read and understand literature representative of various societies, eras and ideas.
      • 2.A. Understand how literary elements and techniques are used to convey meaning.
        • 2.A.5a. Compare and evaluate oral, written or viewed works from various eras and traditions and analyze complex literary devices (e.g., structures, images, forms, foreshadowing, flashbacks, stream of consciousness).
    Science/Technical Subjects
    • 11. Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems.
      • 11.A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.
        • 11.A.4a. Formulate hypotheses referencing prior research and knowledge.
    • 13. Understand the relationships among science, technology and society in historical and contemporary contexts.
      • 13.B. Know and apply concepts that describe the interaction between science, technology and society.
        • 13.B.3a. Identify and explain ways that scienctific knowledge and economics drive technological development.
        • 13.B.5b. Analyze and describe the processes and effects of scientific and technological breakthroughs.
        • 13.B.5e. Assess how scientific and technological progress has affected other fields of study, careers and job markets and aspects of everyday life.
    Common Core Standards
    Science/Technical Subjects
    • Reading Standards for Literacy
      • Early High School: Key Ideas and Details
        • 1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
        • 2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
      • Late High School: Key Ideas and Details
        • 2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
      • Late High School: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
        • 7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
        • 9. Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
    • Writing Standards for Literacy
      • Early High School: Text Type and Purposes
        • 1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
          • 1a. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counter claims, reasons, and evidence.
          • 1b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
        • 2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
          • 2d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic and convey a style appropriate to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers.
          • 2e. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
      • Early High School: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
        • 8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
        • 9. Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • Late High School: Text Type and Purposes
        • 1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
          • 1a. Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counter claims, reasons, and evidence.
          • 1b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
          • 1d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
        • 2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
          • 2b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
      • Late High School: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
        • 7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
        • 8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
        • 9. Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
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