CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Cutting Edge Diabetes Research

Science, English Language Arts
2 lessons
To write a précis of a body of research
Students study cutting-edge diabetes research and write a précis of research devoted to improving treatment or research devoted to developing a cure.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Engage students in a discussion to activate prior knowledge about diabetes. Ask them what causes the disease, how it is treated, and what they know about attempts to find a cure. Remind students that over 80 years have passed since Banting, Best, Macleod, and Collip made history by successfully treating diabetes with insulin. Have students brainstorm recent advances in science that researchers might build on to achieve new breakthroughs in the treatment and cure of the disease.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Chasing a Cure for Diabetes on the CBC Digital Archives website.  Have them view the clips titled

"Remembering Dr. Charles Best", "No more needles", "The long life of Ted Ryder...", "The Edmonton Protocol", "Searching for a cure for diabetes", "Fishing for a cure for diabetes", "The drinkable cure?",  "A new insulin delivery system," "Decoding juvenile diabetes," "Insulin delivery: New methods," and "Paying for the Edmonton Protocol."

Have students write a précis of the information on one of the two following topics: Cutting Edge Improvements to Diabetes Treatment or Cutting Edge Research in Search of a Cure for Diabetes.

Revisit and Reflect

Give students a short time to meet in small groups to read and discuss one another's work. Have each group designate a discussion leader, a timekeeper, a recorder, and a reporter. Students should consider questions such as the following in their discussions:


What are the challenges of writing a précis?

What are the challenges of reading a précis?

Why are précis useful?

How do scientists use précis (often called abstracts)?

Which of the two précis topics did most students select? Why?

Which line of research did students find most interesting or promising? Why?

Allow reporters time to present their groups' discussion highlights, then open the discussion to explore common themes.


Ask students what areas of expertise might be required in a team of diabetes researchers. Ask: What would you need to know to develop a device like the Precis-Jet 50? What would you need to know to implant a genetically altered gene in a fish egg? Have students brainstorm a list of careers people interested in diabetes research might pursue, and then discuss the education that might lead to these careers.


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