Exploring Cell Structure and Function Project-Based Learning Unit

Exploring Cell Structure and Function Project-Based Learning Unit from TeacherVision
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A Thought-Provoking Lesson on Cell Structure and Cancer Research

Build background knowledge of cell structure and cancer research, explore causes and treatments for cancer, investigate how the immune system protects us from diseases, and create and solve escape room and "breakout style" games to unlock the secrets of cancer research!

Your students will combine critical thinking, problem-solving, and scientific inquiry in this project-based learning unit for grades 6-8 science. They'll learn about how how cancer changes cell structures, how cancer researchers target potential treatments for cancer using inquiry-based approaches, and "show what they know" by designing and solving a series of "breakout style" style escape room games to unlock the secrets of cancer research.

What's Inside

Packed with hands-on inquiry-based activities, extensions and enhancements, cross-curricular independent and group work, and engaging and interactive challenges, this 75-page project-based unit comes complete with:

  • For the Teacher: A complete Cell Structures and Cancer Lesson Plan with step-by-step instructions for all activities, teaching tips, assessment guidance, and inquiry questions.
  • For Students: A full-color Student Pack complete with all of the printables, slides, photos, and instructions students need for the research, experiments and activities - just print (or share) and teach!

A complete, ready-to-teach Teacher Pack that includes:

  1. Teacher versions of all the student printables with step-by-step annotations and notes for teaching cell structure concepts;
  2. Formative and summative assessments, answer keys, and a full project rubric;
  3. Instructions and guidance for the extension activities and project enhancements;
  4. Materials and resources lists, links to articles, videos, and research, plus additional resources for lecture and presentation.

What's Included

Lesson Plan - Step-by-Step Project Teaching Guide

  • Milestone 1: Cancer Treatments
  • Milestone 2: Reviewing Cell Structures
  • Milestone 3: Causes of Cancer
  • Milestone 4: Preventing Cancer
  • Milestone 5: Elephant Genes in Cancer Research 

Teacher and Student Resources

  • List of Books About Cells and Finding a Cure for Cancer (optional)
  • Materials List and Setup Instructions for Milestone #1 Activities
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces for Milestone #1 Student Activity
  • "What Are the Main Parts of a Cell?" Activity and Answer Key
  • "Unlock the Box" Scenario Narrative for Milestone #1
  • Teacher Notes and Directions for Breakout Activity
  • Oncology Engineer Student Viewing Guide Activity and Answer Key
  • Milestone #1 "Unlock the Box" Secret Code Activity and Answer Key
  • List of Materials and Setup Instructions for Milestone #2 Activities
  •  "Unlock the Box" Scenario Narrative for Milestone #2
  • Cell Structures Review Activity and Answer Key
  • Milestone #2 "Unlock the Box" Secret Code Puzzle and Answer Key
  • Milestone #2 "Unlock the Box" Lock Code Solution Answer Key
  • Materials List and Setup Instructions for Milestone #3 Activities
  • "Unlock the Box" Scenario Narrative for Milestone #3
  • Milestone #3 "Unlock the Box" Text Message Handout
  • Mitosis Word Search Activity and Answer Key
  • Cancer Cells Student Viewing Guide Activity and Answer Key
  • Cell Structure and Function Quick Quiz and Answer Key
  • Materials List and Setup Instructions for Milestone #4 Activities
  • "Unlock the Box" Scenario Narrative for Milestone #4
  • Fighting Cancer with Food Crossword Activity and Answer Key
  • Milestone #4 "Unlock the Box" Breakout Code Handout
  • Materials List and Setup Instructions for Milestone #5
  • "Unlock the Box" Scenario Narrative for Milestone #5
  • Boxing Gloves Template Handout for Student Activity
  • "Elephant Genes" Student Viewing Guide Activity and Answer Key
  • Milestone #5 "Unlock the Box" Breakout Code and Answer Key
  • Milestone #5 "Unlock the Box" Unlock Code Handout
  • Morse Code Instructions and Activity Handout
  • Cell Structure and Function Summative Assessment and Answer Key
  • Exploring Cell Structure and Function Project Rubric
Grades
6
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TYPE
Lesson Plan - Exploring Cell Structure and Function Project-Based Learning Lesson
Teacher Pack - Exploring Cell Structure and Function Project-Based Learning Lesson
Student Pack - Exploring Cell Structure and Function Project-Based Learning Lesson

OVERVIEW:

This project-based learning lesson is designed to support and reinforce the concepts taught as part of a science lesson or unit on cell structure and function, as well as cancer and disease research. It is built around 5 inquiry-based milestones that incorporate cross-curricular hands-on projects, formative and summative assessments, independent and group activities, and extensions.

STUDENT/GROUP OUTPUT:

In the course of this project-based learning unit, students will:

  • Build background knowledge about cell structures and the way cancer cells alter the structure and function of other cells;
  • Learn about causes of and treatments for cancer at the cellular level;
  • Explore how the immune system protects humans from diseases;
  • Use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to solve various puzzles about cell structure and cancer;
  • "Show what they know" by designing and solving a series of "breakout style" lockbox puzzles to unlock the secrets of cancer research.

SUGGESTED SUBJECT PREREQUISITES:

Students will acquire necessary background knowledge of cell structures and cancer research as part of this project, and instructional materials for providing that background are included in the Teacher Pack. 

SEQUENCE AND PACING:

This project-based unit is divided into 5 milestones. The minimum suggested duration for completing this project-based unit is 5 class periods. However, the unit is completely flexible can be lengthened or shortened as necessary or desired, based on available class time and interest level.

TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES (suggested):

  • Internet access

STANDARDS ALIGNMENT:

These activities support the following NGSS curriculum standards:

  • LS1.A: Structure and Function
  • LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
  • LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits
  • LS3.B: Variation of Traits
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