Breakthrough by Jack Andraka

Book Info

Grade Level
Middle School
STEM Concepts
Biology, Research, Medicine, Mathematics
Publisher
ISBN
978-0-06-236965-9

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.

Source: HarperCollins 

Videos

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!

Kayla

STEM Read recently presented Change the World Day at Northern Illinois University, with special guest Jack Andraka, teen scientist and innovator. Watch teenagers share how they will change the world in their own unique ways.

Hailey and Bailey

STEM Read recently presented Change the World Day at Northern Illinois University, with special guest Jack Andraka, teen scientist and innovator. Watch teenagers share how they will change the world in their own unique ways.

Aryon

STEM Read recently presented Change the World Day at Northern Illinois University, with special guest Jack Andraka, teen scientist and innovator. Watch teenagers share how they will change the world in their own unique ways.

Zack

STEM Read recently presented Change the World Day at Northern Illinois University, with special guest Jack Andraka, teen scientist and innovator. Watch teenagers share how they will change the world in their own unique ways.

Jack

STEM Read recently presented Change the World Day at Northern Illinois University, with special guest Jack Andraka, teen scientist and innovator. Watch teenagers share how they will change the world in their own unique ways.

Cameron

STEM Read recently presented Change the World Day at Northern Illinois University, with special guest Jack Andraka, teen scientist and innovator. Watch teenagers share how they will change the world in their own unique ways.

Activities

Check out photos from our Breakthrough: The STEM Read Experience event in our Breakthrough photo gallery.

Breakthrough Event Image

Educators

Idea Sparks and Mini Lessons

These questions, prompts, and short activities provide quick ways to inspire interest and explore the STEAM concepts related to the book. Idea Sparks and Mini lessons can also be used for differentiation and to foster new ideas of your own.

Download Lesson Plan.

Designing a Cancer Awareness T-Shirt/Poster 6-8

In this activity, students will create their own cancer awareness t-shirt or poster. By researching a specific type of cancer, students will design a t-shirt or poster that is designed to bring attention to a particular type of cancer, and use colors/symbols commonly used to promote advocacy for the cancer.

Download Lesson Plan.

Designing a Cancer Awareness T-Shirt/Poster 9-12

In this activity, students will create their own cancer awareness t-shirt or poster. By researching a specific type of cancer, students will design a t-shirt or poster that is designed to bring attention to a particular type of cancer, and use colors/symbols commonly used to promote advocacy for the cancer.

Download Lesson Plan.

Build a Better Boat 6-8

Jack loved kayaking, and he 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 engineering challenge, students will create prototypes of boats to determine which style and materials will hold the most weight.

Download Lesson Plan.

Build a Better Boat 9-12

Jack loved kayaking, and he 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 engineering challenge, students will create prototypes of boats to determine which style and materials will hold the most weight.

Download Lesson Plan.

You Solve the Problem 6-8

In this lesson, students will research real-world situations to find a problem they want to address. They will develop a conceptual design, then create a prototype of an invention that would help solve that problem.

Download Lesson Plan.

You Solve the Problem 9-12

In this lesson, students will research real-world problems and will create a conceptual design, then prototype of an invention that would help solve that problem. In this lesson, students will research real-world situations to find a problem they want to address. They will develop a conceptual design, then create a prototype of an invention that would help solve that problem.

Download Lesson Plan.

Video Discussion Guide

Watch the videos and then use these questions to facilitate classroom discussions about the topics presented.

Download the Video Discussion Guide.

About the Author

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.

Source: HarperCollins