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Key Ideas

  • Cells have important functions in maintaining homeostasis, or internal balance, within the body. Factors that affect the functions of cells come from within the body and from the external environment.
  • A permanent change in the DNA of a cell is called a mutation.
  • Cancer cells are different from normal cells in how they recognize other cell types, reproduce, move, and respond to chemical signals.
  • Individuals can lower their risk of developing certain kinds of cancer by limiting their exposure to specific cancer-causing agents and making wise lifestyle choices.


Students learn about the important functions of cells in maintaining homeostasis within the body. They discuss factors within the body and in the environment that affect the health of cells. Students explore two serious kinds of disorders resulting from cells that do not function normally-genetic diseases and cancer. They learn about DNA mutations and their different effects if they occur in somatic cells, as compared with mutations in gamete cells. Students investigate the cause of and treatments for cystic fibrosis, a single-gene disorder affecting the lungs and other organs of the body. They learn how cancer cells are different from normal cells, and they explore risk factors for cancer of the colon. In summarizing what they have learned about factors that affect cells, students identify ways to lower their risks of developing cancer in their lifetime.



\checkmark identify factors that affect the health of cells.

\checkmark explain DNA mutations and their effects on somatic cells compared with gamete cells.

\checkmark describe how cancer changes normal cell function.

\checkmark identify ways to lower their risk of developing certain kinds of cancer.


cancer, cystic fibrosis, mutation, stem cells, stroke, tumors.

Student Materials

Activity 5-1: Cells Gone Awry

  • Activity Report
  • Compound light microscope
  • Prepared laboratory slides from blood, lung, or liver tissue

Teacher Materials

Activity 5-1: Cells Gone Awry

  • Activity Report Answer Key
  • Photographs, charts, diagrams, slides, or laserdisk images of normal and diseased tissue from blood, lung, or liver

Advance Preparation

See Activity 5-1 in the Student Edition.

Activity 5-1: Cells Gone Awry

  • Allow ample time to order slides. A suggested resource for prepared slides follows:
    • Carolina Biological Supply Company Telephone: 1-800-334-5551
  • Suggested slides:
  • Human Pathology sets, contain variety of slides including normal/diseased or diseased only. Price range varies for 3-24 slides. e.g., D8-31-6986 Histopathology of Disease Set. 24 slides include normal and diseased tissues of the same organ. Give a general overview of some disease processes. Human pathology preparations can also be ordered separately from the Carolina catalogues.
  • Other sources include slides from a local high school science department, hospital, clinic, or university research laboratory.
  • Gather sufficient numbers of microscopes and slides for students to work in teams of two.

Interdisciplinary Connection

Health Education Arrange for a cytotechnologist, scientist, or physician from a research laboratory, clinic, or hospital to discuss the cellular basis of diseases such as cancer and cystic fibrosis.

Image Attributions




6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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