Great Discoveries

Great Discoveries

Connecting the great inventions of science to human biology and health.


“Great Discoveries” are units of instruction designed to provide students with connections to health topics such as hearing, vision, nutrition, human locomotion, and disease control. Introduced through a personal story featuring a multicultural setting, each health topic is explored through hands-on, science investigations. Incorporating a vignette in the life of a great scientist or inventor, every discovery leads to a working model and/or conceptual understanding of a scientific/health concept. Each unit concludes with a connection to technological applications. The overall design of the curriculum is to foster student awareness about issues, to give them firsthand experience with basic discoveries, and to connect them with the way modern scientists/doctors/inventors are solving problems today. 

“Great Discoveries” are divided into five units: The Human Machine (inclined planes and wheelchairs, bones and levers, pulleys, pneumatics, and prosthetics); The Human Camera (the anatomy of the eye, lasers and lenses, analogs to understand the physiology of the retina, inventing gel lenses); The Human Receiver (hearing and hearing loss, the nature of sound, frequency and volume of sound, the structure of the ear, technology associated with enhancing hearing); The Human Refinery (the anatomy and physiology of the digestive system, nutrition, biochemistry of digestion); and The Human Zoo (epidemiology, Leeuwenhoek and the simple microscope, the physiology of yeasts, bacteria cultures in milk, antibiotics). Teacher lesson plans and a review of content for each topic is provided in the teacher materials with links to expanded information via the world wide web. Reading selections for students are also provided.


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