Today's Lesson: Cancer

CURE, Winter 2009, Volume 8, Issue 4

LIVESTRONG at School program teaches cancer in the classroom.

Science and health are the most obvious classes in which cancer information should be taught in schools. But through LIVESTRONG at School, the Lance Armstrong Foundation has put a spin on cancer-related curriculum, helping to expand it across multiple disciplines such as language arts, life skills, history, civics, and even math.

“LIVESTRONG at School is meant to both stimulate students to learn about cancer, be able to support someone who has cancer, and advocate that more funding be directed to cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and care,” says Lance Armstrong in a promotional video.

Through LIVESTRONG at School (www.livestrong.org/school; 877-236-8820), teachers can download lesson plans, which meet national academic standards, for grades K-12 to help students discuss cancer in an age-appropriate, hopeful, inspiring, and empowering way, says Devon McGoldrick, who oversees the LIVESTRONG at School program, which started in the spring of 2008.

“The content is evergreen,” McGoldrick says. “It’s been adapted around the U.S., and even around the world.” The staff knows of at least 300 classrooms using the material, and constantly get calls from teachers and schools expressing interest.

LIVESTRONG at School recently partnered with PBS’ Arthur to create an episode, “The Great MacGrady,” that explores the various emotions children have, and how they can be involved, when someone they know has cancer. The episode even has an appearance from a cartoon Lance. (The episode is available for download on iTunes or at pbskids.org/go/video.)

McGoldrick says the most important aspect of LIVESTRONG at School is promoting student, teacher, and parent involvement with the LIVESTRONG mission. “We really view this as a very comprehensive resource to help kids of all ages get involved in the fight against cancer.”