When a child or family is dealing with a rare disease, it can be difficult for relatives, friends, and classmates to understand the diagnosis and how to support those affected by the rare disease. Amy Wilstermann has put together curriculum that can be used in a school setting to help educate children of all ages about the science behind illnesses like cancer and how you can support someone you know who has cancer.
Teaching Kids about Cancer
- 50% of people diagnosed with cancer, including almost all children with a cancer diagnosis, have a form of cancer that is classified as rare. When a child has cancer, it is often difficult for the child’s friends and classmates to understand their disease and know how to support their friend. CancerEd is a resource that houses scientifically accurate, age appropriate, and engaging curricular materials that teachers can use to help their students understand cancer.
- While there are many interactive resources and curriculum for middle school and high school students, there continues to be a lack in the elementary age group. Teaching elementary students about genetics and rare diseases is an important part of science education, as well as helps create inquisitive and empathetic students. CancerEd and Rare Disease Research at Calvin University are currently partnering together to create resources for grades K-5. Check back soon for lesson plans and more information!
Teaching Kids about Rare Diseases
Available resources for students grades 5 and up:
Elementary School Activities
- Created by NORD (National Organization for Rare Diseases), it includes activity sheets and a lesson on bullying and acceptance.
Middle School Resources
- Created by NORD (National Organization for Rare Diseases), it includes activity sheets, social media ideas, a lesson on bullying and acceptance, and the NIH middle school curriculum.
High School Curriculum
- Created by NORD (National Organization for Rare Diseases), it includes two week curriculum to teach kids about genetics and are diseases leading up to Rare Disease Day.
High School: Science Curriculum Supplements
- Created by the NIH (National Institute of Health), it includes lessons on Rare Diseases and scientific inquiry, human genetic variation, and evolution and medicine.
High School: Teach Genetics
- Created by the University of Utah, it includes resources and curriculum modules on genes, heredity, family health history, and more.
High School: Gene Ed
- Created by the NIH (National Institute of Health), it includes lessons on: DNA, Genes, and Chromosomes, Heredity/inheritance Patterns, Genetic Conditions, and more.