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Resources for the Ed Tech Lesson (specific for: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)

Sutori-based interactive web story of the life and times of Henrietta Lacks

Webquest specific for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks



            The Henrietta Lacks Foundation

Established in 2010 by Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The foundation seeks to promote public discourse concerning the role that contributions of biological materials play in scientific research and disease prevention, as well as issues related to consent, and disparities in access to healthcare and research benefits, particularly for minorities and underserved communities.

Jessica Stump's research paper on Henrietta Lacks

Written by Jessica Stump (a junior high school student) about Henrietta Lacks for National History Day. The youthful perspective/writing style might serve as a great way to engage high school students.  The paper itself is only 5-6 pages long (there is also an appendix and extensive reference section, which makes it seem longer)

Gallery of microscope images of HeLa cells

Students can look at images of the cell line that was isolated from Henrietta Lacks, so that they will be oriented to the cell biology-related aspect of the topic of discussion.

Big Picture Education

Summary of many of the issues pertaining to the HeLa cell controversy

Summary of the Tuskegee Syphillis study

Summary of the Tuskegee Syphillis study, which took place from 1932-1972.  African American men
with syphillis participated in a study to examine the course of a typical syphillis infection and to look
at the effects of novel drug treatments.  The controversy with the study is that the men who were
part of the placebo group received no drug treatment and their disease was allowed to develop
untreated - this is something that would be considered completely unethical today.  The African
American men who were part of the placebo group were also not informed that they were in that
arm of the study - these men assumed that all men in the study were being treated for their disease,
and they were unaware that they were not receiving treatment.  Unfortunately, these men spread
syphillis to their sexual partners and family members.

Huffington Post and the Tuskegee Syphilius study

Huffington Post article that contains rare archival photos of some of the rural African American men
who were in the placebo group arm of the Tuskegee Syphillis study.  It is hoped that if students can
see the faces of the men involved in the study, that it will add an element of humanity to what might
otherwise be a very academic historical discussion

Racist aspects of the Tuskegee Syphilis study

A research article that documents some important details of the Tuskegee Syphillis study
A fantastic website which details all aspects of the Henrietta Lacks story, including archival photos
of Henrietta Lacks and her family, discussions of what the Lacks family is up to today, and a
historical examination of the science behind and related to HeLa cells.  The website is professionally
designed and particularly engaging.

African Americans and disparities in health care access/outcomes

A short article that discusses some of the underlying reasons why African Americans and other people of color
often receive poorer health care than other social groups.

Disease and mortality rates amongst African American populations

A website produced by a major health care insurance provider that highlights the disparity in disease and
mortality rates for African American populations s relative to white populations in the U.S.



Additional Teaching Resources


Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform, used as educational technology in classrooms and other learning institutions.

For a small monthly fee, instructors can use this site to post vocabulary lists that students can review and practice with online. Instructors can also receive feedback on student mastery of the vocabulary lists they post. There are options for a school or school district to pay for the service via a liscencing fee.


A mobile and web-based study application that is used in one of two middle/high schools in the U.S. Students can improve their mastery of a given topic through flashcards and other games and tests.

SMART exchange

Contains a broad array of activities that can be used on interactive white boards (specifically SMART boards), which are broken down by content area. There is a search tool that allows you to zero in more specifically on a given topic.


A plethora of helpful teacher-related instructional resources can be found on this website for almost any content area.

Amoeba Sisters

Well done and kid-friendly animated videos detailing a variety of biology-specific concepts, including stem cells, cellular differentiation and specialization, etc. Most videos are free to view. One of my cooperating teachers at Beekmantown would often use these videos with her high school Biology students and even this grade level seemed to really enjoy them.










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