The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Novel Study



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This novel study aligns with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

This novel study was created to be used in the secondary science classroom with a major focus on science vocabulary and reading comprehension.

  • No-prep, and extremely user-friendly, this novel study is perfect for the whole class, small group, or independent study.
  • Perfect for distance learning. Both print and digital versions are available so students can access the digital version from home or school.
  • Excellent for school OR homeschool. No-prep and so easy for teachers, parents, and students to follow!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Novel Study is broken down into word study and comprehension sections as well as a final project and a movie guide:

  • Before You Read p 3
  • Word Study: Prologue pp 4-6
  • Word Study: Part 1 Chapters 1-4 pp 7-10
  • Word Study: Part 1 Chapters 5-11 pp 11-14
  • Word Study: Part 2 Chapters 12-14 pp 15-18
  • Word Study: Part 2 Chapters 15-18 pp 19-22
  • Word Study: Part 2 Chapters 19-22 pp 23-25
  • Word Study: Part 3 Chapters 23-25 pp 26-29
  • Word Study: Part 3 Chapters 26-30 pp 30-32
  • Word Study: Part 3 Chapters 31-38 pp 33-37
  • Afterword pp38-39
  • Final Project pp 40-41
  • Movie Guide pp 42-47

*Answer key is also included.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Product details:

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crown
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 381 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9781400052189
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 1140L