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The Diabetic Dilemma. Anna Farkas Chicago Public Schools IIT Research Mentor: Ali Cinar.

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the diabetic dilemma

The Diabetic Dilemma

Anna Farkas

Chicago Public Schools

IIT Research Mentor: Ali Cinar

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. EEC-0502174. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  • Topic: Management and Control of Diabetes
  • Target Audience: Biology & Anatomy/Physiology High School Students
  • Time Required: 3 weeks
  • This module presupposes a working knowledge of atomic structure, chemical bonding, the basic chemicals of life, and the cell theory.
  • Students should understand that the energy in food is in the chemical bonds and must be released in order for the cells to use it.
  • Students should be familiar with online research techniques and the use of the Excel and PowerPoint programs.


  • Students will gain understanding of the physiology, biochemistry, and management of diabetes.
  • The project will complement the study of cellular metabolism, homeostasis, energy balance, and wellness.

After working on background understanding and knowledge, students will be presented with several scenarios. They will design a management program including the diet, exercise, and insulin requirements of a diabetic. They will work on solving the problems of management as they arise in the interactive scenario using the glucosim program.


Students will also design a wellness program for their patient. The program will use the nutrition planning table and the exercise table. Users will enter the type of physical activity performed, their intensity level and their duration. The software will compute the energy consumed and compare it with the energy intake.


The module will consist of two units comprising:

  • Introduction and background understanding of the physiology and biochemistry of cellular metabolism, homeostasis, diabetes, nutrition, and energy balance
  • Work on interactive scenarios and glucosim Work on wellness program and nutrition program. Student PowerPoint presentations of scenario findings and results

The project meets ethical standards. There is no conflict of interest, as the project serves student needs and complies with educational standards. The module will be clearly designated as educational only, with no claims for actual therapeutic use and warnings against such use.


Students will resolve various ethics problems such as:

  • Reporting of data without tampering
  • Managing the patient to provide the best care
  • Balancing patient welfare and research goals, for example, a drug company can invest in curing diabetes (one-time customer) vs.. maintaining a tolerable life style (life-long customer) or a food company may need to balance marketing profitable high-fat, high-salt, high-glucose foods and drinks vs. ‘healthy’ foods.
  • Illinois Learning Standards
  • 11.A.4c Collect, organize and analyze data accurately and precisely.
  • 11.A.4e Formulate alternative hypotheses to explain unexpected results.
  • 11.A.4f Using available technology, report, display and defend to an audience conclusions drawn from investigations.
  • Illinois Learning Standards
  • 11.A.5b Design procedures to test the selected hypotheses
  • 11.A.5e Report, display and defend the results of investigations to audiences that may include professionals and technical experts
  • Illinois Learning Standards
  • 12.A.4b Describe the structures and organization of cells and tissues that underlie basic life functions including nutrition, respiration, cellular transport, biosynthesis and reproduction.
  • 12.A.5a Explain changes within cells and organisms in response to stimuli and changing environmental conditions (e.g., homeostasis, dormancy).
  • 13.B.5b Analyze and describe the processes and effects of scientific and technological breakthroughs.

Unit One: Building Background Knowledge

  • Lesson 1: Cellular Structure and Function
    • This lesson serves as a review of cellular structure and function.
  • Lesson 2: Cellular Metabolism
    • Students will gain understanding of cellular respiration and use of energy sources.
  • Lesson 3: Nutrition
    • Students will learn about the nutritional content of foods and the importance of food choices.
    • Students will gain an understanding of cultural diversity and its influence on nutrition.
  • Lesson 4: What is Diabetes?
    • Students will gain understanding of the function of insulin and its role in cellular homeostasis.
    • Students will learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and management of diabetes.
student project
Student Project

Unit Two: Diabetes Management

  • Lesson 5: Managing Your Patient
    • Students will design a management program for their assigned patient.
    • Students will use technology to input their choices and investigate the results.
  • Lesson 6: Technology in Diabetes Management
    • Students will learn about advances in the use of technology for the management of diabetes.
student project16
Student Project
  • Students will choose a scenario/patient.
  • The students will be presented with problems in the management of diabetes relevant to their chosen scenario. The students will use the interactive programs to input their food, exercise, and insulin selections. The program will calculate the blood glucose based on the students’ choices.
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Diskettes & flash-drives for saving student work
  • Printer capability
  • Projection capability for student presentations
  • Art supplies
  • Poster boards

Sites for the online programs:

This is an interactive online educational program for the management of diabetes

This is an interactive online educational program for nutrition, wellness, and energy balance.

  • Concepts to Assess:
    • Understanding of cellular structure
    • Understanding of cellular respiration
    • Understanding of glucose utilization
    • Understanding of pancreatic physiology
    • Energy balance and the role of fats
    • Understanding of the issues of diabetic management
  • Students will complete a pre-test and a post test.
  • Students will complete an assessment product for each individual lesson.
  • Students will record and graph data from scenarios and prepare and present a PowerPoint demonstration of their findings.