Science Literacy, Inquiry and 21st Century Skills: Environmental Influences on Normal Cell Function & Cancer

The purpose of this lesson is to engage prior learning of the student in what they know about cancer. Students will use a model system to compare and contrast how cell structure and requirements differ between “normal” cells and “cancer” cells. Students will role-play using an NIH (National Institutes of Health) activity in order to better understand how both family history and life style choice may increase a person’s risk for developing cancer. It is important that students learn how cells become cancerous (teacher input) in order for them to conceptualize the influence of mutagens or other cells on the development of tumor cells in the body. Students will also take on the role of researcher or medical doctor in order to assess the risk of four different patients using patient medical histories.

Author: Karen Quick

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