HIV project


Intended Learning Outcomes


Students will be able to research and find possible solutions to a problem using a biological database.


Students will be able to read and understand amino acid sequences and alignments produced by Biology Workbench.


Students will be able to identify common mutation locations in HIV-1 envelope proteins and human CD4 proteins and make research/treatment recommendations based on this information.


Prior to this lesson

Immediately prior to this lesson the students spent two days becoming familiar with Biology Workbench for Students, and have already set up their own accounts.  Prior to that, they spent a good deal of time learning about viruses in general, and specifically HIV, including history of the epidemic, lifecycle, transmission/prevention, and treatments.  Earlier in the semester the students learned about DNA, protein synthesis, and restriction enzymes.  For each of these topics the students learned what it is and how it is used in biotechnology.  They also learned several lab skills that incorporate these topics.


Detailed lesson plan



5 computers hooked up to the Internet


Posterboard (can be provided by the students)


Day 1

Hand out instructions for the lesson (See Appendix B).  Make sure all students have a copy of the Biology Workbench for Students instruction sheet (See Appendix A).  Have the students find a partner to work with in the computer lab.  Explain that their first job when they get into the computer lab will be to search for envelope glycoprotein from HIV-1 patients (stress that they should not use proteins from HIV-2 patients, since this is a very different strain that is often not lethal like HIV-1).  Tell them that they will not have time to compare all of the proteins they find in a search, so they will need to decide which ones they should use (in the lab, if a group has trouble deciding which to use, suggest that they use location as a way of deciding).  For instance, they may choose to use only protein from American patients, or they may choose to compare proteins from different parts of the world).  Also tell them that they may want to do more than one alignment, based on the sequences they choose to use.  Once they have found the proteins they want to work with, they should research question 1 using the skills they learned in the lesson prior where they were introduced to Biology Workbench.  Move the class to the computer lab, and allow the students to use the rest of the period to begin their research.  Circulate around the room to provide assistance with using Biology Workbench, but allow the students to conduct their own research, only offering advice when a particular pair of students seems to be completely stuck.


Day 2

Return to the computer lab to continue working on the research they started yesterday.  The students will probably have to spend the entire day working on question 1.  Once again, circulate around the classroom and answer any specific questions about Biology Workbench.  If any students do happen to get finished with question 1, they can begin working on question 2, but tell them that it will be introduced to the entire class tomorrow.


Day 3

Tell the students that they should bring materials to work on their posters tomorrow in case they get done with their research.  Introduce question 2.  Remind the students that we learned earlier in the unit about people who have been repeatedly exposed to HIV, yet have not contracted the virus.  A mutation of the CCR5 protein in human T-cells has been found that increases people’s resistance to HIV.  It has been speculated that this may also be due to mutations in the CD4 protein that HIV binds to on the surface of T-cells.  Their first job in researching question 2 will be to search for CD4 protein.  Move to the computer lab and give the students the rest of the hour to work on their research.  Make sure the students finish researching question 1 before they move on to question 2.


Day 4

Some of the students may be finished with their research today, or may finish during the hour, so introduce the poster at the beginning of the hour.  Go over the required elements of the poster (See Appendix B), and show them an example of a finished poster.  Tell them that they will have tomorrow to work on their posters, but they will have to finish any work they don’t get done in class on their own time.  The day after tomorrow they will be presenting their posters to the rest of the class, and will have to critique each other’s posters using guidelines set up by the teacher (See Appendix C).  Hand out the scoring rubric so the students are aware of the elements on which they will be graded.    Have the students spend the rest of the hour finishing up on their research in the computer lab.  If any of the students are finished with their research they should begin working on their posters.


Day 5

The students should be pretty much finished with their research for the project, so they should spend the day working on their posters.  If anyone still needs to work on the computers, leave the option open for them, but stress that today is the last day they will have to work in class.  Also tell them that they need to make sure that the Conclusion part of their poster is well done, because they will be graded on the recommendations they make.


Day 6

Have the students present their posters today.  Take any volunteers who would like to go first, and tell them to leave time at the end of their presentation for questions from the class.  Tell to the class that they need to make sure that they use this time to ask good questions to make sure they fully understand the research the team has done.  They will each have to do a written critique of the other teams presentations, so they need to have a good understanding of their research in order to do a good job on those critiques.  After each presentation is over and the class has finished asking questions, ask any remaining questions, but allow the students the opportunity to ask these questions first..