an inevitable process. We all know that, if we are lucky, we will
grow to some older age someday. When we are teenagers, the age of
25 looks old to us. When we are 25, 40 seems old. People in their
60s think that 80 is old. Many senior citizens are "young
at heart." And some young people are "old beyond their
years." Obviously, some parts of the aging process are simply
a frame of mind. Other parts are purely biological. But one thing
we do know is that aging is a fact in all of our lives.
|People over 65,
who were 4% of the U.S. population in 1900 and 13% in 2000,
will constitute 20% by the year 2025. This profound increase
will have an enormous impact on our nation's healthcare, social,
and economic institutions. Therefore, it is very important to
recognize the importance of our aging populations in society.
Perhaps increasing our knowledge about the aging process can
change our attitudes about what it means to age. It is clear
that as we increase our understanding of the biology of aging,
we can no longer equate aging with inevitable decline and disease.
But what causes aging?
What do we know about the aging process? Is the process genetic,
or environmental? What factors influence how we age? Can the knowledge
gained from the Human Genome Project and aging research lengthen
human life span significantly?
Biology of Aging is a high school level mini-unit appropriate
as an enrichment activity following the study of mitosis, human
genetics, DNA, and protein synthesis. A basic understanding
of the immune and endocrine systems is also recommended.
The Biology of Aging
unit will use The 5 E's Instructional
Model: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. The
program provides lesson plans and printable classroom materials
for teacher use. The program encourages teachers to involve their
students in community activities that unite teens and seniors.
The Biology of Aging, students will:
to the science behind the aging process.
solving and inquiry to study the biological aspects of aging.
the classroom into the community and interact with people
outside of their immediate age group.
Gain an appreciation
for the aging process and value the integrity of other age
Image in The Biology of Aging title bar from Frontiers in Bioscience.