This article was written and contributed by Anne Phillips | Manager, Market Development | Uncommon Productions
Breakthrough is a documentary about Nobel Prize winner Jim Allison that highlights how courage, passion, determination, collaboration, and innovation can change the world and inspire hope against huge odds. Inspire your students with this heartwarming story of how science can solve some of our most pressing problems.
Sign up here for a free educational license of the award-winning documentary Jim Allison: Breakthrough to screen with your students and receive a copy of the toolkit featuring discussion questions, lesson plans, labs, career exploration, and more.
The toolkit activities can be used or adapted for use in high school, college, and post-secondary classrooms and are written to meet Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Use the toolkit as a whole or borrow pieces to meet your unique learning objectives and circumstances. You may watch the film in the classroom or assign it to your students to watch on their own time. The film is also a great activity for student groups and associations.
In this section, your students will reflect on the challenges and triumphs Dr. Allison's team encountered in the development of ipilimumab. The lab activity teaches students about the FDA and how an idea becomes a drug or form of therapy. The activities in this section include:
FDA --Drug Development Process Lab
"Phenomenal. Entertaining, and interesting. My students LOVED the film. It not only held their interest; it explained the science in terms that they could understand." – Jenifer Circle-Potter, Unioto High School
“To see the real-world applications of what we have spent the entire semester learning about was beyond thought-provoking. [The film] gives me something to think about when school and the medical school process seems impossible. It'll remind me to follow my passion despite adversity and hardships. Because in the end, no one will believe in you until you give them a reason to.” – Shantae Saunders, student at Kutztown University
"This documentary reminds us why it is important to be passionate and dedicated in everything we do. Dr. Allison's story and his impact on biology and medicine is inspiring and should be viewed by all students, especially those considering a career in research and/or medicine." – Dr. Jamie Newman, Louisiana Tech
“These types of real world, real time stories remind the students why they are studying science and how one person can lead a paradigm shift!” – Cathy Messenger, Los Gatos High School
“The film shows the real motivation behind Dr. Jim Allison, and describes him as a multidimensional character, not as a stereotype seen on ‘Big Bang Theory.’ Students see the perseverance, professional and personal setbacks and the negative naysayers involved in research.” – Dr. Gregory Buck, Texas A&M Corpus Christi