Seren throws a ball for her dog Toby to fetch. He doesn’t move and proceeds to sneeze over her mobile phone. She is concerned that she will catch an infection from her dog, so asks Alfred the science app for advice. Alfred explains the history of vaccination, beginning with Edward Jenner infecting a boy with cow pox followed by smallpox and the subsequent immunity to smallpox. The animation proceeds to explain that all cells have antigens on their cell membranes which the body recognises. However, when a pathogen invades the body with different antigens, specialised cells called lymphocytes produce antibodies which attach to the foreign antigens, disabling and destroying them. Following such an infection, special cells called memory cells remember the antigen so that if an infection happens again, they will produce antibodies much quicker to fight the infection so that you do not become ill.
Begin a discussion on vaccinations - what are they, where do they come from, how do they work, what do they do to you, are they safe? etc. Show the first part of the animation on Edward Jenner. Discuss the implications of Jenner experimenting on another human being and discuss if this should be allowed. Ask pupils what impact the discovery of a vaccination by Jenner has had on the world. Proceed with the video to show how immunity is developed in the body. Ask pupils to produce a cartoon to show how lymphocytes, antibodies, antigens and memory cells interact. Extend by asking some to add annotations to their cartoons. Ask pupils to produce a glossary of all the new terms encountered in the animation and find definitions for each one as they view the animation again or use textbooks/the internet to research the answers. Extend learning by researching the impact of antibiotic resistance and explain how this has impacted on cleaning practices in Britain’s hospitals. Research MRSA and C. difficile infections and treatment. To develop numeracy skills, give pupils data on vaccination rates and incidence of diseases over time. Ask them to plot graphs to show how the numbers change over time. Extend pupils by asking them to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of being vaccinated against a disease, eg the MMR vaccine. Are all vaccines good?