Martine N. Joseph                                                                                   Return to Biology Menu

George W. Wingate High School, Brooklyn

Living Environment

Summer 2001

Autoimmune Disease

Cooperative Learning Activity


The word "auto" is the Greek word for self. The immune system is a complicated network of cells and cell components that normally work to defend the body and eliminate infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and other invading microbes. If a person has an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks self, targeting the cells, tissues, and organs of a person's own body. After a thorough research and evaluation of related scientific literature, you and your partner will make an informed presentation to your classmates on one of the many different autoimmune diseases.


1.      Pair up with a classmate and choose one of the following 18 autoimmune diseases:




Multiple Sclerosis


Myasthenia gravis





Crohn's disease


Ulcerative colitis




Autoimmune Hepatitis


Autoimmune hemolytic anemia




Pernicious Anemia


Type I diabetes mellitus




Grave's disease


Hashimoto's thyroiditis




Primary biliary cirrhosis


Behcet's disease




Rheumatoid arthritis


Systemic Lupus erythematosus












Sjogren's syndrome



2.      Using the Internet (go to for a list of useful websites), science articles and other publication from the national foundation for this disease, make an oral presentation and provide a written report of your group's findings. Be sure to address the following questions:

    Whom does this autoimmune disease affect?

     What are the causes of this disease? Is it inherited or contagious?

     What other factors may influence the development of this disease?

     How is this disease diagnosed and treated?

     How can it be prevented?

     What research is under way on this disease?


3.      You must use PowerPoint or any other software program to present your work. Be sure to include as many visual aides as possible i.e. pictures, graphs.   


4.      Both the teacher and your classmates will evaluate your work.


5.      You will be graded on the following criteria

     (A rubric outlining these criteria should be given to student prior to grading.)

       Clear, concise, and accurate answers to project directed questions

       Use of graphic representation of data and ideas

       Understanding of content and issues associated with this disease

       Response to questions and ideas from classmates


This activity aligns with learning standards 1,2, 4, 5 and 7. It also applies to the following performance standards:

Life Science Concepts                                     S2a and S2c.

Scientific connections and applications          S4c, S4d and S4e

Scientific thinking                                           S5e and S5f

Scientific tools and technologies                    S6d, S6e

Scientific communication                                S7a, S7e