Research, Biology, Medicine, Mathematics
For the first time, teen innovator and scientist Jack Andraka tells the story behind his revolutionary discovery. When a dear family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, Jack was inspired to create a better method of early detection. At the age of fifteen, he garnered international attention for his breakthrough: a four-cent strip of paper capable of detecting pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers four hundred times more effectively than the previous standard.
Jack’s story is not just a story of dizzying international success; it is a story of overcoming bullying and depression and finding the resilience to persevere. His account inspires young people, who he argues are the most innovative, to fight for the right to be taken seriously and to pursue their own dreams. Do-it-yourself science experiments are included in each chapter, making Breakthrough perfect for STEM curriculum. But above all, Jack’s memoir empowers his generation with the knowledge that we can each change the world if we only have the courage to try.
Changing the World with Teen Innovator Jack Andraka
We had the pleasure of having Jack Andraka, teen scientist, author, inventor and innovator, visit Northern Illinois University for the STEM Read Change the World Day. He talks about his ground-breaking cancer detection technology, and how he overcame personal and professional struggles to help change the world.
A Few of Jack Andraka's Favorite Things
Teen innovator and inventor Jack Andraka, author of the book Breakthrough, talks about a few of his favorite things, including favorite books, movies, TV shows, and even his favorite Real Houswives!
Changing the World using STEM
Hailey and Bailey
Designing a Cancer Awareness T-Shirt
In this activity, students will research a specific type of cancer and will then design an awareness campaign t-shirt using colors/symbols commonly used to promote advocacy for the cancer.
Build a Better Boat
Jack loved kayaking and often thought of problem-solving while he was on the water. He also knew that he had to try many different approaches to any challenge he took on. In this PBL, students will create prototypes of boats to determine which style and materials will hold the most weight.
You Solve the Problem
Students will create a solution to solve a problem facing the local or international community.
Video Discussion Guide
Watch the videos and then use these questions to facilitate classroom discussions about the topics presented.
Jack Andraka was just a fifteen-year-old Maryland high school student when he invented an inexpensive early-detection test for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. Now, at eighteen, he has already won the 2012 Intel ISEF Gordon E. Moore Award, the 2012 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Youth Award, first place in the 2014 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, and the 2014 Jefferson Award. He speaks to audiences across the globe about his personal story, his research, LGBT issues, and his ideas for STEM education reform. He has been featured in several documentaries, including Morgan Spurlock’s You Don’t Know Jack, as well as countless radio, newspaper, and magazine articles.