First stage production of Starfish Spring 2009. Photographs by Robert Workman

Starfish has been developed in partnership with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)
and supported by the
Wellcome Trust (WT) and Central YMCA.
Lessons 1 to 5 have been developed by Centre of the Cell on behalf of the UKCRC.

Centre of the Cell is a science education centre, an online resource and an outreach project aimed at schools, young people and families.

The Materials are designed to complement the science curriculum for 11–16 year olds (key stages 3 and 4),
but can be used as revision or extension activities with other key stages. They also address some of the
key themes in other curricula including citizenship, history, biology and environmental studies.

How to download the Resources. You can download each file individually by selecting the relevant links
for each file. You will need a version of Acrobat Reader in order to read and print the files.
If you don't have it on your machine, download a free copy from the
Adobe Acrobat web site.

Preparatory Lessons

Suggested preparatory lessons to be used to prepare students prior to the performance.

Lesson 1 - Clinical Research

In these activities, pupils learn about how new medicines are developed - from the initial idea, through the science that turns them into treatments, to the clinical research that tests whether they are safe and effective.

Lesson 2 - Disease Detection & Diagnosis

These activities teach pupils to think about how doctors and other staff diagnose illnesses and how new diagnostic tests are developed. Pupils also consider when screening programmes for diseases are appropriate.
How do doctors diagnose disease? First, they take note of a patient's symptoms. Symptoms are physical signs produced by a disease, but they are not the cause of that disease. If you have a fever, this is your body's response to an infection. The infection causes your immune system to respond by raising the body's temperature, and the fever is the symptom of the infection.

Lesson 3 - New Vaccines

These activities introduce the concept of vaccination and why it only protects the population if most people are vaccinated. They show how early vaccination was tested and discuss the role of informed consent in Clinical Research. Pupils learn about the process of developing a new vaccine.

Lesson 4 - Double Blind Trials

These activities demonstrate how double blind trials are run, explaining what a placebo is and how the placebo effect works, how bias is removed as far as possible and how participants and trial medicines are randomised.

Lesson 5 - Risk Factors of Disease

These activities introduce the idea that there are certain factors, called risk factors, which can increase a person's likelihood of developing a disease. Pupils learn how scientists use research to determine what the risk factors are for various diseases.
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