Zebrafish Toxicology Curriculum

Zebrafish Arsenic Curriculum

With an abundance of well water samples collected by All About Arsenic participants, a wealth of data have been generated for teachers to integrate into their classroom curriculum. Sarah Dunbar, an All About Arsenic teacher partner, has piloted the SEPA-Zebrafish toxicology experiment dataset and associated curriculum in her classroom. This dataset was generated by Remy Babich, and is based on her graduate work at the University of Maine that was published in Scientific Reports in August 2021!

Remy took her original experimental data and made it user friendly so that students can explore! The main focus of this dataset is on the movement of larval zebrafish in response to exposure to well water samples that were supplied by All About Arsenic classrooms over the last couple of years. 

We are so fortunate that Sarah Dunbar has been piloting this curriculum in her own classroom and is willing to share with us how to make that happen in your own! Check out Sarah’s outline of lesson plans below!

Time2-3 (60 Minute) class periods 
Standards*Analyzing and interpreting Data
Focus Questions– Why are zebrafish good models for a toxicology study?
– What can the behavior of zebrafish tell us about how humans respond to contaminants in drinking water?
OverviewIn this activity students will use the data collected by Remy Babich at the University of Maine during her toxicology study that used well water samples from Maine and New Hampshire.   In this study Remy looked at the movement and startle response of zebrafish in different samples. Students will use this data set to develop a graph. Students will dive into the data looking to create connections and possibly develop a claim about the findings in this study.   
ObjectivesStudents will use the Zebrafish Tuva Data set to ask questions and develop graphs regarding Zebrafish behavior and water toxicology.  
Materials Needed– Data Set https://arsenicdata.tuvalabs.com/dataset/363/
– 3 minute  video recording introducing Remy and her research.
PowerPoint presentation (with notes) breaking down the methods used to collect the data.
PCA Candy Analogy
– A document providing Zebrafish Tuva Tox Dataset variables, as well as a number of prompts for graphs, and follow up classroom discussion questions. Task cards and Extension questions 
Identifying Drinking water Contaminant Mixture Risk by Coupling Zebrafish Behavior Analysis with Citizen Scientist – A 10 minute Video By Remy Babich 
– Candy Analogy

Extension Materials:
– A Review paper highlighting the zebrafish as a behavioral model (and different types of behavioral tests) – Basnet et al 2019
– A review paper highlighting the zebrafish as a toxicology model, not only for neurotoxicity but other organs. It also does a nice job of drawing parallels between zebrafish and humans – Cassar et al 2020
Teacher Prep– Familiarize yourself with TUVA and watch the following powerpoint on Remy’s work. 
TUVA introduction video   
– Getting to know a Data set video 
Activity– Introduce students to Remy’s research with the three minute video.
– Present the Powerpoint presentation.  This has a detailed description of the study-including video links.

– Consider also showing the 10 minute video where Remy explains the process.

– Students will then dive into the data set with the step by step  “Action Cards:” This could be done as a whole class, small group or individual. Each card has reflection questions to help students really think about what the graph is showing and what it could mean.
AssessmentAfter students have worked through the Action Cards.   They will develop a graph of their own.  They will develop a CER (Claim-Evidence-Reasoning) based on the graph they developed.  
CER Template 
CER Rubric 
Wrap-UpHave students present their graphs and CERs. 
ExtensionsDebate Options 
1. Are Zebra fish an adequate model for toxicology studies?
2. Is it ethical to use animals in toxicology studies?
3. Should animals be used for research?
The class will select a debate option, and break off into two groups.    
Students will research and collect evidence for their side of the debate.
Debate structure
Debate rubric