What is our risk of developing a disease?

Author: Celena Guerrero

Area: Life Sciences

Grade Level: 6-8


The goal of this lesson is to have students learn that common chronic diseases (such as diabetes and CVD) run in families and are caused by the combined action of multiple genes.  Before the goal of this lesson can be accomplished I must first introduce the concept that genes are passed from parents to offspring and contribute to our phenotypes (physical characteristics).


Arizona State Standards:

Comprehensive Health Standards (Grades 6-8)

Standard 1: Students comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention.

1CH-E1. Explain the relationship between positive health behaviors and health care and the prevention of injury, illness, disease, disability and premature death.

PO 1. Illustrate how positive health behaviors can prevent common injuries, diseases and conditions.  

1CH-E3. Explain how health, growth and development are influenced by the interaction of body systems, genetics, environment and lifestyle

PO 1. Develop a plan for a healthy environment and lifestyle and apply it to health, growth and development

1CH-E5. Explain how environmental health and personal health are interrelated

PO 1. Compare healthy environments and healthy people with unhealthy environments and unhealthy people

1CH-E6. Describe ways to reduce risks related to adolescent health problems

PO 1. Identify personal health behaviors that reduce health problems                                    

PO 2. Illustrate the harmful effects of use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs

1CH-E7. Describe how lifestyle and family history are related to the cause and prevention of disease and other health problems

PO 1. Describe how living a healthy lifestyle and knowing family health history can help a person live a more healthy life Science

Standards (Grade 6): 

Strand 1: Inquiry Process
Concept 1: Observations, Questions, and Hypotheses  

PO 1. Differentiate among a question, hypothesis, and prediction.

PO 2. Formulate questions based on observations that lead to the development of a hypothesis. 

 Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Concept 2: Science and Technology in Society  

PO 1. Propose viable methods of responding to an identified need or problem.

PO 2. Compare possible solutions to best address an identified need or problem                       

PO 3. Design and construct a solution to an identified need or problem using simple classroom materials


Grades 5-8: Content Standard C:

Life Science - Reproduction and Heredity

A new individual receives genetic information from its mother and its father. Hereditary information is contained in genes. An inherited trait of an individual can be determined by one or by many genes. Some traits are inherited and others result from interactions with the environment.   

Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives - Risks and Benefits

Risk analysis considers the type of hazard and estimates the number of people that might be exposed and the number likely to suffer consequences. The results are used to determine the options for reducing or eliminating risks.


Keywords: Genetics, heredity, risk, diabetes, heart disease

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Lesson Plan (pdf / doc)