Unit Overview

In this unit about Diabetes, learners will help Mosa solve the mystery of why Jaylene’s cells aren’t able to make energy when there is plenty of glucose around. Through this video mystery, as well as constructing a visual model of the diabetic pathway, learners will discover that humans not only need food nutrients to make energy, they also need a hormone called insulin to allow glucose to be used by cells. Learners will also consider steps forward to mitigate future diabetes rates and help those living with diabetes to adapt to their condition by engineering artificial insulin.

Lesson Overview

Medium solveLesson 1: The Solve
Medium makeMake: Create an App that Educates about Diabetes
Medium engineerEngineer: Design a new Insulin Pump

Learners will contextualize diabetes vocabulary before helping Mosa Mack solve the mystery of why Jaylene’s cells aren’t making energy despite the presence of glucose. (75 minutes)

After a quick warm-up simulation, learners will design an app that educates users about the difference between a normal and diabetic pathway and advocates steps to prevent the development of Diabetes. (150 minutes)

Learners will act as doctors to design an insulin pump to help a potential patient with Diabetes. In their medical recommendation, learners will identify whether this treatment is best suited to those with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, and in the process, also develop alternative solutions. (150 minutes)

Next Generations Science Standards

Science & Engineering Practices

  • Engaging in Arguments From Evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • Structure and Function

Cross Cutting Concepts

  • Connections to Nature of Science
  • Science is a Human Endeavor
  • Systems and System Models

Inquiry Scale

  • Each lesson in the unit has an Inquiry Scale that provides directions on how to implement the lesson at the level that works best for you and your students.
  • “Level 1” is the most teacher-driven, and recommended for students in 4th-5th grades. “Level 4” is the most student-driven, and recommended for students in 7th-8th grades.
  • For differentiation within the same grade or class, use different inquiry levels for different groups of students who may require additional support or an extra challenge.

Common Misconceptions

  • Learners initially think that if you eat, your cells should be able to make energy.
  • Learners initially think that if enough insulin is present, glucose should be able to be absorbed by cells. The difference between insulin that is not present (Type 1) and cells that do not react as well to insulin (Type 2) will need to be made clear.


    • Glucose
    • Cell
    • Energy
    • Insulin
    • Pancreas
    • Bloodstream

Content Expert Title

  • Renata Belfort De Aguilar
    Yale University


  • Powerpoints for Make and Design
  • Vocabulary Cards
  • Solve Student Handout
  • Make Student Handout
  • Design Student Handout
  • Vocabulary Mind Map

New: RocketLit Leveled Reading

* To give our users the most comprehensive science resource, Mosa Mack is piloting a partnership with RocketLit, a provider of leveled science articles.

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