The Impact of Diseases

For the first Disease Action Project, GCE Sophomores investigated the following guiding question:

How do we map the impact of diseases in our body systems?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

You are a medical specialist who has been asked to present a patient case study at a national conference for other doctors and medical specialists. The panel of organizers is interested in hearing stories about individual patients, and their experiences with preventable diseases.Using your research from Unit 1, create a patient profile and an anatomical drawing, based on a real or fictional person, that allows your audience to experience what it’s like to have the disease you researched.

Please click on diagram to the right to see the students’ profiles on different diseases.

Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.SSE.A.1.B Interpret complicated expressions by viewing one or more of their parts as a single entity. For example, interpret P(1+r)n as the product of P and a factor not depending on P.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.SSE.A.1.A Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.

HS-LS1-4. Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms

HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

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

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-LS1-1. Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.

chronic strip

Chronic Strips: A Cure Online Installation

For the Cure Course, GCE Sophomores investigated the following guiding question:

What did the Liver say to the Acetaminophen?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

The UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund) is very concerned about the incorrect use of medicaments taken by children around the world. It started a campaign to educate children and parents about the effects of commonly used drugs. The UNICEF asked for students from around the world to write “chronic strips”, this is, comic strips featuring interactions between medicaments and the different parts of the body.

Please click on the different parts of the chronic strip below to see each student’s full chronic strips.

Alignment with Common Core, NextGen and UN MDGs Standards

UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Target 4A: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate

Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Target 5A: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
NextGen Science Standards

HS-LS1-2: Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

HS-PS1-2: Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
CCSS ELA Standards

W 9-10.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

a. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

b. Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

c. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic.

f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

W 9-10.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

a. Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

c. Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.

d. Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

RL-11/12-5: Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

The Mind- A Disease Online Installation

For the second Disease Action Project, GCE Sophomores investigated the following guiding question:

How does someone with a mental disorder feel?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

The World Health Organization (WHO) started a campaign to promote worldwide empathy towards children with mental disorders. Their purpose is to spread a better understanding of what children with special needs go through, so the communities may support them in developing their full capacities.

WHO called High School students from all over the world to submit 5min activities that adults could do, so they understand what is like to interact with someone living with a mental disorders such as dyslexia, autism, ADD, ADHD, etc… To participate, students must submit a lesson plan of their 5-min workshop together with a half-page flyer that spreads understanding about the specific mental disorder. 

Please click on the brain below to see the students’ lesson plans and flyers.

Alignment with Common Core Math and NextGen Standards

CCSS.Math.Content.5.G.A.1: Use a pair of perpendicular number lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers, called its coordinates. Understand that the first number indicates how far to travel from the origin in the direction of one axis, and the second number indicates how far to travel in the direction of the second axis, with the convention that the names of the two axes and the coordinates correspond (e.g., x-axis and x-coordinate, y-axis and y-coordinate).

CCSS.Math.Content.5.G.A.2: Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.

CCSS.Math.Content.8.EE.B.5: Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways. For example, compare a distance-time graph to a distance-time equation to determine which of two moving objects has greater speed.

CCSS.Math.Content.8.F.B.4: Construct a function to model a linear relationship between two quantities. Determine the rate of change and initial value of the function from a description of a relationship or from two (x, y) values, including reading these from a table or from a graph. Interpret the rate of change and initial value of a linear function in terms of the situation it models, and in terms of its graph or a table of values.

CCSS.Math.Content.8.F.B.5: Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally

CCSS.Math.Content.HSF-IF.B.4: For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship. Key features include: intercepts; intervals where the function is increasing, decreasing, positive, or negative; relative maximums and minimums; symmetries; end behavior; and periodicity.

CCSS.Math.Content.HSF-IF.B.5: Relate the domain of a function to its graph and, where applicable, to the quantitative relationship it describes. For example, if the function h(n) gives the number of person-hours it takes to assemble n engines in a factory, then the positive integers would be an appropriate domain for the function.
CCSS.Math.Content.HSF-IF.B.6: Calculate and interpret the average rate of change of a function (presented symbolically or as a table) over a specified interval. Estimate the rate of change from a graph.

CCSS.Math.Content.HSS-ID.C.7: Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data. HS-LS1-2 Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms. 

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

MS-LS1-8: Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.
HS-LS1-2: Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

HS-LS3-1: Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.

Evolution Zoo – a Population Online Installation

For the second Population Action Project, GCE Sophomore students investigated the following guiding question:

How can you portray the evolution of a species? 

 Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Your local Nature Museum is designing an exhibit called “From/To,” portraying the history of evolution of different species, from bacteria to humans. All students were invited to participate in the exhibit by selecting an organism to study, then creating a slideshow looking at its evolution over time.

Please find below the online installation we created, featuring the species students profiled. Please click on the beautiful animals to open the student work.

National Standards: 

Project Alignment with Common Core NextGen Standards

HS-LS3-2. Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors. 

HS-LS4-1. Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
HS-LS4-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.

HS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.

Population: An integrated, project-based high school class


What underlies the diversity of life, where our ancestors come from and how we became the human beings we are now? How can we quantify and measure change? With the tools of logic, statistics, and exponential growth, you will study diverse populations and represent them as a unit. Throughout this course, you will discover how people connect with local and global populations; explore how and why populations have changed throughout history; and forecast what this means for our future.

Disease: An integrated, project-based high school class


How have diseases changed your view of life and death? In this course, you will explore diseases of the body, mind and society. Through the study of anatomy, neuroscience and epidemiology, you will learn how our bodies react to trauma and outside influence. Among several math concepts, you will explore a critically important number, R-naught, and how it can be used to predict epidemics. Disease is an intensely reflective, personal, and foundational course for professions in the healing arts.

Cure: An integrated, project-based high school class


How do you heal? In the Cure course, you will study revolutions in the history of Western medicine through three units of study: emergency, treatment, and prevention. While each unit focuses on an advancement in Western medicine, the External Investigations provide opportunities to explore case studies of people who have been cured through a variety of methods, including practices such as acupuncture and yoga. As a parallel to bringing a body into balance, you will work to bring linear and quadratic equations into balance, as well as applying your knowledge of functions to nutrition and health.