Education Technology

Chelcie's story

A diagnosis of diabetes inspires a career in healthcare

When she was 12, Chelcie Weber was diagnosed with type 1
diabetes. Now 22, she's finishing her university degree in nursing.

Watch as she tells her story

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys a body's ability to make insulin, a naturally occurring hormone that enables cells to extract glucose from the blood for energy. It's an incurable condition, but it can be managed.

The inaugural STEM Behind Health TI-Nspire™ activity, Type 1 Diabetes: Managing a Critical Ratio, introduces students to the science and math of the disease management, which is, for Chelcie and all T1 diabetics, a matter of life and death.

Through the activity, students gain understanding of a critical ratio — how many units of insulin Chelcie must use after a meal or snack to balance the grams of carbohydrates in the food.

Each simulation starts with a “pin prick” blood test, which reveals another critical ratio: Chelcie’s blood sugar level. As that level fluctuates after eating, students must administer the right number of insulin units to keep it in the healthy range.

The activity also gives students a look at the cause of diabetes, its treatment, Sanford Health’s ongoing efforts to find a cure, and the fundamental concepts of ratios and proportions, which are critical to developing fluency and reasoning skills.

Explore the science of math with
Type 1 Diabetes: Managing a Critical Ratio

This first-of-its-kind lesson provides math and science educators with interactive simulations that promote essential concepts and practices, including:

  • Engaging in ratios and proportional thinking
  • Analyzing biological control mechanisms
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Using computational thinking
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Download free trial software

Try TI-Nspire™ for free and experience
this engaging STEM Behind Health activity,
as well as other TI-Nspire™ digital
resources, by downloading a free trial of
TI-Nspire™ Teacher Software or
TI-Nspire™ Student Software
(available for Mac® and PC platforms).

Kurt Griffin, M.D., Ph.D.

The Sanford Project, Sanford Research
Director of Clinical Trials and Scientist

Kurt Griffin grew up the son of a biology teacher, used a real microscope at home and dissected lambs’ hearts in school — experiences that got him thinking early on about a career in medicine.

Now the director of clinical research at The Sanford Project, Dr. Griffin is working with Texas Instruments to inspire students to think about careers that are dedicated to healing diseases, providing hope for cures and researching treatments that support wellbeing.

While many careers in clinical research require advanced professional degrees, positions for students with STEM educations range from laboratory technician, research coordinator, project manager and regulatory compliance expert to statistician and finance manager.

STEM Behind Health activities are designed to put students on paths to those careers by providing relevant, meaningful contexts for asking questions, analyzing and interpreting data, using math and computational thinking and constructing explanations.

Curriculum Vitae

Sanford School of Medicine / University of South Dakota

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics


American Board of Pediatrics (General Pediatrics)

American Board of Pediatrics (Pediatric Endocrinology)