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.
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.
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HS-LS1-1, HS-LS1-4, HS-LS3-1; SEP2, SEP4, SEP6
3.A.2, 3.A.3, 3.B.2, 3.C.1, 4.A.3; SP1, SP5, SP6
1.6, 3.1, 3.4, B.5
CC3; DP1, DP3