Students in Biology II learn about natural selection of antibiotic resistance

Students in Mrs. Mary Lawson’s Biology II classes have been learning more about natural selection of antibiotic resistance this week. The activity was prefaced with the following prompt:

Have you ever taken antibiotics? Did you follow the directions completely? All antibiotics need to be taken as directed, which usually means taking all the pills and not stopping even if you begin feeling better. Why? 

Millions of harmless bacteria naturally live on and inside of your body. When harmful bacteria appear on the scene, your body’s immune system can usually keep a small population of them under control. If, however, these bacteria reproduce too quickly, you suffer consequences — and this is called an infection. Antibiotics help your body fight off an infection by killing these harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, a small number of bacteria in any population may not be affected by the antibiotic as quickly. These bacteria, which are considered more resistant to the treatment, continue to reproduce and grow. Completing the full course of the antibiotic as prescribed helps make sure that these bacteria do not survive and therefore will not make you ill or infect anyone else. 

Students worked in partners to collect data with 20 disks, which represented harmful bacteria living in the body before taking antibiotics. Students then performed an activity in which they tossed a number cube to simulate real-world scenarios, such as taking the antibiotic or forgetting to take the antibiotic. Students then graphed their results using different colors to represent each type of bacteria. They also used the graph to answer analysis questions.

View photos from the lab below!