One Microarray Helps to Treat Brain Cancer in a Unique Way (Day 1)!

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Objective

Students will use argument supported by several waves of evidence to progressively build a definition for cancer.

Big Idea

Cancer is a complicated disease that requires a battery of progressive tests to evaluate and to formally define!

Introduction

Lesson Background & Justification: 

        Cancer, also known as a malignant tumor, is a group of diseases involving abnormal  cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Not all tumors are cancerous; benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Brain and spinal cord tumors in particular may be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). However, since neurons generally cease cellular division after early childhood, cancer ensues in the actively dividing cells in the Brain and CNS (eg. Glial cells) which advances into abnormal growing/dividing masses or tumors. In this lesson "Defining Cancer", the first part of two day lesson (lesson 2) aims to introduce students to the morphological & physiological activities which distinguishes cancer cells from normal cells in the body. It sets the foundation for students to execute a lab that accounts for these differences, but at a genetic level in day two of the lesson. 

Essential Prior Knowledge: Prior to experiencing this lesson, students should be familiar with the following content/concepts: a) Structure and Function of DNA, b) Cell Structure and Function and c) Cellular Division.

Lesson Preparations:

In the effort to prepare for this lesson, I make certain that I have the following items in place: 

a) A Class set of stained cancer cell images (see attachment).

b) Class set of, compound microscopes, plastic coverslips, glass slides, .9% saline solution and methylene blue staining solution.  

b) Student lab books.

d) Class set of electronic devices to access the internet (including BYOT or bring your own technology devices).

e) Class set of the Immortal Cells Document (Pages 4-9).

Common Core and NGSS Standards:

MS-LS1-2- Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

MS-LS1-3- Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

SP2- Developing and Using Models

SP4- Analyzing and Interpreting Data

SP8- Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Standards Rationale:

      Modeling is the process by which scientists represent ideas about the natural world to each other, and then collaboratively make changes to these representations over time in response to new evidence and understandings. It is intimately connected to other scientific processes (asking questions, analyzing and interpreting data and communicating information, etc.) and improves students ability to recall scientific jargon through association. In the classroom, it is important that teachers engage students in modeling practices, to set the foundation of success in a lesson or instructional unit. In this lesson modeling is used in concert with other science practices in the classroom to promote students’ reasoning and understanding of core science idea presented (differentiating between normal and cancer cells.)  

Engage

15 minutes

Section Sequence:

       In this section of the lesson, students first individually and then collectively develop an initial or rough definition of cancer. They do so by following the sequence of instructional events:

a) Slide 1: Present the image and read the accompanying question as seen on the slide. Allow as many students to verbally share their opinions as possible to gather a wide array of responses. 

b) Ask: What do you assume the unfamiliar mass is? Take responses from the class until cancer is shared. Share that most people would think and agree that it is cancer, but there are a variety of responses to this news. Let's have a look at a young man who faced this reality and observe his immediate and distal responses to the news. Play the following clip:

c) Post video, ask students how the young man's responses compared/contrasted to theirs. As why do they think that their were differences in responses, now and in general. Share that cancer evokes fear in most people because it is associated with death (somewhere in the discussion). Finally, ask rhetorically; "What is this thing that we call cancer?"

Standards Covered:

SP8- Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Explore

30 minutes

Section Sequence:

       In this section, students are given an opportunity to personally observe and record data  that aids in their ability, like scientists to differentiate between normal cells and cancerous cells.  The observations and data collected will be utilized to define, and progressively redefine the definition of cancer as they are presented with more data. This section proceeds as follows:

a) Slide 2: Share with students that there are four definitions of cancer presented from various organizations on the screen. Inform them that their task is to read them over and produce one definition based on similarities or common threads presented in the four definitions. Give students 5 minutes to record their definitions in their lab books.

b) Slide 3: Tell students that each organization presents a loosely different representation of cancer's definition because it can be hard to define. Share that they will embark on a set of experiences that will allow them to morph, yet refine their definitions much like the scientific community does. Share that they will start with examining morphological features of normal cells and compare/contrast them to cancerous cells. 

c) Tell students that in order to appreciate the first experience, that they will have to revisit cell structure and function. Play the following video (facilitate narration by including the function of the organelles presented on the video.):

                           

d) Transition students  into the this first lab experience by stating: "We will now use this information to better observe the cellular and morphological differences between normal versus cancerous cells. Let's begin with some normal cells that you have, your cheek epithelial cells." Then dispense microscopes, glass slides, cover slips, saline solution and methylene blue for staining to student groups and play the following video to demonstrate their lab procedures:  

                         

e) Post video, instruct students to execute the steps viewed in the video, while providing technique support where and when needed.

f)  Provide students with images of stained cancer cells (see attachment) and instruct them to observe their cells and the cancer cells and to record the morphological features of each.

g) Next, instruct students to use their stained slides, images and descriptions to revise their initial of cancer. Request and select students to share out their initial and modified definitions. Ask the students why their definitions changed, if they think it is more refined and to elaborate on their opinions.

h) Slide 4: Instruct students to think about how the varied morphologies of the cells could contribute to their ability to function properly. Instruct them to characterize each cell type based on functions (using slides, images and content dispensed in the Inside the cell video). Finally, direct students to revise their definitions again in light of this information and to share out as they did in step g.  

Standards Covered:

MS-LS1-2- Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

MS-LS1-3- Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

SP2- Developing and Using Models

SP4- Analyzing and Interpreting Data

SP8- Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Explain

35 minutes

Section Sequence:

a) Slide 5: Ask students what makes each of them unique. Where does the uniqueness start? Discuss until the class's conversation avails that the inside defines what we interface with daily. Share that the morphology of cancer and normal cells are similar to humans in that their inside activity dictate what we see on the outside (like in the images and slides). Share that students will take time to explore what is internally defines cancer cells. 

b) Provide students with a laptop or some other form of technology that will allow for them to access the internet. Instruct them by reading the tasks outlined on slide 5 and facilitating these tasks as students progress.

For step 2, direct students to the following website:Inside Cancer Interactive Site

For step 3, provide each group with a copy of questions from the Immortal Cells Document (Pages 4-9), under the following headings: 

Overview, Growing Uncontrollably, Evading Death, Processing Nutrients, Becoming Immortal, Invading Tissues, Avoiding Detection and Promoting Mutations. (Each group will be responsible for addressing the questions under one of the aforementioned headings)

For step 4, copy and print copies of the Compare and Contrast Matrix for the class. 

Standards Covered:

MS-LS1-2- Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

MS-LS1-3- Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

SP2- Developing and Using Models

SP4- Analyzing and Interpreting Data

SP8- Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Wrapping Up!

10 minutes

Section Sequence:

Slide 6: Read the instructions projected and instruct students to complete the tasks outlined. 

Standards Covered:

SP4- Analyzing and Interpreting Data

SP8- Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information