Cell Cycle and Cancer Laboratory

For Discover Biology Lab


Cell Cycle Board Game

Learning objectives

  • Familiarization with the cell cycle
  • Understanding of cell cycle control via checkpoints
  • Appreciation for the “Hallmarks of Cancer”
  • Viewing cancer as a multistep, progressive disease
  • Distinguishing the roles of oncogenes and tumor suppressors
  • Creating and troubleshooting game design
  • Probability and statistical thinking

Instructions for this lab:

  1. Create a game board and the required cards
  2. Create a simple set of rules for a game in which you move around the board
  3. Play the game for 10-15 minutes using these rules
  4. Write a half-page summary of the game with the following sections (options described below):
    1. Game objectives
    2. Card type summary
    3. Game rules
  5. Establish three new rules and/or card types for your game
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 twice
  7. Write the “official rules” to your game – keep good rules, eliminate bad rules (You decide.)
  8. “3-2-1”

Possible game objectives

  • How do you win the game?
  • How do you lose the game?
  • Will your game have scoring?
  • Will you keep track of how many of the hallmarks of cancer each player acquires?
  • Is the objective to move around the game board as many or as few times as possible

Card types (required)

  • Images of cells at each stage of the cell cycle (drawing only, no writing)
  • “Hallmarks of Cancer”

Card types (optional)

  • Therapies treating or preventing “Hallmarks of Cancer”
  • Oncogenes and tumor suppressors mutations

Possible game rules

  • Can you do something to prevent the “Hallmarks of Cancer” from accumulating?
  • Movement around the board
    • Dice?
    • Candyland style card drawing?
    • Spinner?
    • Special cards that get you out of cell cycle checkpoint “traps”?

Steps of the cell cycle

  1. Interphase
    1. G1
    2. G0 (optional)
    3. S
    4. G2
  2. Mitosis
    1. Prophase
    2. Metaphase
    3. Anaphase
    4. Telophase
    5. Cytokinesis
  3. Checkpoints (Note: These stopping points may become nonexistent as cancer progresses.)
    1. G1 checkpoint
    2. G2 checkpoint
    3. M checkpoint

Hallmarks of cancer

  1. Sustaining proliferative signaling
  2. Evading growth suppressors
  3. Avoiding immune destruction
  4. Enabling replicative immortality
  5. Tumor-promoting inflammation
  6. Activating invasion and metastasis
  7. Inducing angiogenesis
  8. Genome stability and mutation
  9. Resisting cell death
  10. Deregulating cellular energetics

Cell cycle regulators (optional ideas to create a more complex game)

  1. Cyclins
  2. Cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdk)
  3. Anaphase-promoting complex (APC)
  4. Growth factors
  5. Growth factor receptors
  6. Oncogenes
  7. Tumor suppressors

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