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:
3. Renal Tubular Acidosis, a type of Kidney Disease
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
Task Partially Attempted
Explain the science.
Discuss the science related to your chosen topic.
Renal Tubular Acidosis
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.
OVERALL CRITERION SCORE
Task Partially Attempted
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
Acknowledge your sources.
Provide a bibliography of at least 2 sources used on your informational posters.