Vampire biology

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Vampire biology

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Get ready for vampire mania as the new movie in the Twilight Saga – Eclipse, is premiering tonight in the USA.  It hits screens in the UK on July 9th so now is a perfect time to teach a little vampire biology.

The PowerPoint I have designed for this occasion contains two starters – one for KS3 and one for KS4/5.  Both use the example of a vampire (in this case every girl’s favourite – Edward Cullen) to test students’ understanding and ability to apply what they know to a new (and slightly surreal) area.

The KS3 starter asks students to explain how vampires are adapted.  As we all know, the only thing on a vampire’s mind is how to catch their prey in order to feed on its blood.  The vampire has certain features to enable it to do this.  An example is their strong muscles and fast speed, as well as good looks to entice a human to come a little closer.

The KS4 starter could be used during a topic on DNA, genes and proteins.  It informs students that vampire venom changes a person into a vampire because it mutates their DNA (as I am not an expert in vampires, this is my theory and not necessarily a fact).  They then have to discuss in pairs how this could have resulted in the changes to the body.

Students can use their imagination and come up with any number of explanations as long as they use sound science to back it up.  For example, in the Twilight saga, one feature of vampires is that when exposed to sunlight their very pale skin glistens like it contains millions of tiny diamonds.  Could this be because a mutation has occurred which changes the structure of melanin so it glows in UV light?

For anyone wanting to do a little more study on vampirology, then I highly recommend taking a look at the website of the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency which also contains information on the science of werewolves for fans of Jacob Black.