Course Name: Biology in the Real World: Understanding Modern Complex Issues

Module Number and Name: 3 Understanding Cancer

Activity # 2: Illustrate an understanding of the cell cycle and how its alteration can lead to cancer.


In order to understand cancer (abnormal cell growth with potential to spread) we need to understand the basis of how cells grow, divide, and multiply.  The cell cycle is the basic mechanism that underlies this capacity and it is controlled by the regulation of genes.  In this exercise, you will explore the stages of the cell cycle and define targets for cancer treatment and disease proliferation.

Learning Objective:

After doing background readings and completing a game on the cell cycle, students will illustrate an understanding of the cell cycle including Mitosis and how its alteration can lead to cancer by providing 4 screenshots of each stage from the game and creating a mindmap illustrating the stages of the cell cycle and how they can be altered in cancer to an exceptional degree following a detailed rubric.

Activity 2a

After you have familiarized yourself with the cell cycle through your readings you will complete activity 2a.

This activity is a Do activity as you will play a game that takes you through the Cell Cycle.Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 8.29.25 AM


You can find the game here: Control of the Cell Cycle:


The game is provided by the Nobel Prize website and is inspired by the Nobel Prize winning work of Leland Hartwell, Tim Hunt and Paul Nurse who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for their work related to the control of the cell cycle. In the game, students act as the transcription factor team CDK and Cyclin as they oversee the process of the cell cycle to replace dead skin cells. The cell has a certain energy level that drops every time students make an incorrect choice, eventually that level drops to critical levels and students are forced to start over. After playing a number of times, the process becomes quite clear.


You will need to take 4 screenshots from this game showing you have completed each stage of the cycle.  The screenshots will then be utilized in the final submission once you complete activity 2b (see below).

Activity 2b

This activity is a Connect activity as you will connect your understanding of Cancer back to the cell cycle.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 8.25.33 PMResources:

An example mindmap is shown above using mindmeister.  You can create 3 free mindmaps using this software.  Any number of mindmap programs are available and you are welcome to utilize whatever works best for you.  Note that this example does not include the requisite screenshots or references to Cancer treatment targets or areas of potential disease initiation.


You will post your mindmap with requisite screenshots into your ePortfolio under the Laboratory 2 title.  Follow this rubric as you are preparing your post.

Universal Design:

To accommodate all learners students may also submit a podcast or screencast to illustrate their understanding of the cell cycle and how it relates to cancer.  Students will still need to submit their 4 screencasts from the game and follow the rubric to meet the expectations of the assignment.

Maria Guillily, PhD