“How can we demystify coronavirus vaccines in order to help people make informed decisions about their health?”
This is a question many people are wrestling with at this pivotal point in history, and is also the driving question for Vax Facts, a new free high school science project available in the PBLWorks Project Library. We know that many people are struggling to navigate conflicting and evolving information about SARS-COV2 and vaccines, and we are pleased to provide resources to help teachers and students gain a deeper understanding of the science behind this public health moment.
As students in the Vax Facts project learn key concepts (including how mRNA and traditional vaccines work in the body, how to interpret efficacy data from clinical trials, and how viral variants develop), they evaluate the claims they are hearing in the news, on social media, and from others, and consider how to communicate their learning to an audience of their choice in their community.
The project is aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects. It addressed critical content that includes protein synthesis, natural selection and evolution, and data analysis. The project also helps to build important critical thinking and media literacy skills, while deepening students’ capacities to explore multiple perspectives, engage in respectful dialogue, and communicate complex technical concepts in ways that are appropriate and engaging for varied purposes and audiences.
Project Based Learning is all about creating empowering learning experiences that teach core content while engaging students in solving real and meaningful problems in the world around them. Understanding and communicating effectively about the coronavirus and the science of vaccines is a critical challenge that demands significant scientific literacy as well as empathy and curiosity: qualities that we believe are more necessary than ever. We hope you and your students find meaning in this project, and would love to hear how it goes in your classroom!
You can access the full Vax Facts project here.