Classifying Cancer Genes and Examining Patient Data
These two hands-on activities engage students in exploring the genetic basis of cancer using cards and posters.
After watching a short video and completing a worksheet, students can do one or both of the following activities. In “Activity 1,” students identify where genes involved in cancer are located on human chromosomes, using a set of 139 cards and associated posters. In “Activity 2,” students examine cards that list genetic mutations found in actual cancer patients. Small-group work spurs discussion about the genes that are mutated in different types of cancers and the cellular processes that the affected genes control.
The “Activity 1 and 2 Overview” document provides short summaries of the two activities, along with key concepts and learning objectives, background information, references and rubrics, and answers to students’ questions. The “Activity 1 and 2 Documents” include student handouts, cards, and posters.
The “Card Images” ZIP file contains individual image files for the cards used in this activity that can be used in the classroom, particularly in online courses. A document within the ZIP file contains suggestions for their use. These card images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CCC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. We would ask that you attribute these to BioInteractive and not use them for commercial purposes.
Both cancer discovery activities are appropriate for first-year high school biology, AP and IB Biology. Activity 2 is also appropriate for an undergraduate freshman biology class.
Student Learning Targets
- Visualize genetic data (Activity 1 only).
- Describe the differences between proto-oncogenes, oncogenes, and tumor suppressor genes.
- Use online databases to determine information about genes related to cancer.
BRCA1, cell cycle, cellular differentiation, DNA repair, mutation, oncogene, p53, tumor suppressor gene
Vogelstein, Bert, Nickolas Papadopoulos, Victor E. Velculescu, Shibin Zhou, Luis A. Diaz Jr., and Kenneth W. Kinzler. “Cancer Genome Landscapes.” Science 339, 6127 (2013): 1546–1558. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1235122.
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS1-4, HS-LS3-1; SEP2, SEP4, SEP6
AP Biology (2019)
IST-1.B, IST-1.C, IST-1.D, IST-1.E, IST-2.A, IST-2.D, IST-3.C, IST-3.D, IST-3.E, IST-3.F, IST-3.G; SP1, SP2, SP3,SP4, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
1.6, 3.1, 3.4, B.5
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)
CC3; DP1, DP3