STEM vs. Disease: Using Science to Diagnose & Treat Cancer

A free STEM curriculum for the students of Rhode Island

Students explore how cancer develops and how it can be treated through the lens of one disease — pediatric leukemia. In these lessons, students follow a patient’s journey from initial symptoms to life cancer-free, and meet Rhode Island experts who are making a difference in the field of cancer medicine.

Meet the STEM vs. Diseases Role Models

Sydney Marquis

Survivor of Leukemia

Surana George

A Quality Assurance Specialist at Amgen in Rhode Island

Steve Roy

A Frontline Manager at Amgen in Rhode Island

STEM vs. Disease — Cancer Teaches Essential Biology Concepts and
Inspires Students to Consider Rhode Island Careers in Cancer Care

Students join Sydney Marquis, a young leukemia patient on her journey through cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery while they gain a deeper understanding of the STEM careers, knowledge and skills that move us closer to a cancer free world. They’ll meet Rhode Island career role models who work in fields related to cancer care, and realize that there is a wide array of careers that use diverse skill sets to help cancer patients—more than doctors and nurses are needed! Along the way, they’ll also delve into the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to the development of cancer, getting a fundamental understanding of the medical reality of Sydney’s journey and the work of Rhode Island cancer care specialists.

Target Audience:

Grades 9-12

Examples of Key Concepts and Vocabulary:

Cancer, body systems, red blood cells, stem cells, phlebotomist, blood draw, Henrietta Lack, HeLa cells, malignant tumors, metastatic, radiation

Introduction: A Patient's Journey

What is it like to face cancer? Meet Sydney, a cancer survivor, and hear about her initial experiences and steps when confronted with a cancer diagnosis at the age of 11.

Lesson 1: How Does Cancer Develop?

How do normal cells become cancer cells, and how does cancer develop? Uncover the intricate biological mechanisms of these processes.

Lesson 2: Treating Cancer

Once cancer is diagnosed, how is it treated? Explore treatment options based on the specific diagnosis and the progression of disease.

Conclusion: A Brighter Future

Hear about the conclusion of Sydney’s journey and her bright prospects for the future. Then show what you’ve learned about medical treatment of disease!

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