Engage students in learning about health family history and the connection between genetics and health. By completing this module students will:

  1. Understand basic information about common (and in some cases preventable) diseases, understand that the risk for developing these diseases has both a hereditary and environmental component, and understand what it means to be "at risk" for developing these diseases.
  2. Assess personal risk for developing common diseases by filling out the online Health Family Tree tool at home with their families.
  3. Construct a "Reduce your Risk" Promotional Campaign aimed at educating their peers.
Follow the suggested lesson plan below to work your way through this module.
Activity Abstract Length
Pre-Activity Movie: Using Family History to Improve Your Health Use this movie to spark discussion with students about what it means to be at risk, health family history and why it is important. The movie also acts as a teaser to excite student interest before doing the Risk Continuum and Pick The Risk activities.

6 mins.
Risk Continuum A whole-class kinesthetic demonstration of what it means to be in a "risk group" for developing heart disease based on family history/genetics.

15 mins.
Using Family History to Improve Your Health Web Quest Students explore the Using Family History to Improve Your Health module on the Genetic Science Learning Center website to complete a web quest.

50- 80 mins.
Pick the Risk: The Polygenic Pedigree Challenge Students track and record the passage of pom poms (representing genes) through generations of a family using a pedigree. Students learn that common chronic diseases (such as heart disease) run in families and are caused by the combined action of multiple genes.

30–45 mins.
Reduce Your Risk: A Promotional Campaign Students design a promotional campaign targeting their peer group to educate them about how to reduce their risk of developing preventable diseases. Students submit a proposal form highlighting the key points and ideas for the campaign; creating a product from their proposed campaign is optional.

50 mins.
What's Your Family Health History Story? Collect your family health history using this easy to follow guide and checklist. Arrange your family’s health history into a pedigree chart. Student pages available in English and Spanish.

At-home assignment