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Cancer Research Lesson Plans

  1. Published by Cancer Research UK

  2. Science, PSHE & Citizenship

  3. KS4 (Years 10 & 11)

KS4 Content Evaluation by Stuart Pattison

The website contains lesson plans and with a brief outline of what is contained in each of them. These can then be opened as PDF files. Each lesson plan is between 12 and 16 pages long and contains everything that is needed for the session. The site is easy to navigate and has the advantage of being part of the Cancer Research UK site which means that it is easy to gain additional information if need be. The intention of the program is not only to provoke students to learn about cancer, but also develop their own opinions on topics such as medical ethics. The lessons are divided into four sections which begin with “What is Cancer?” which covers cancer itself looking at the biological and lifestyle causes for different cancers. The second lesson is “Cancer and Viruses” and covers vaccinations and gets students to consider the issues around a vaccination for Cervical cancer and the moral and ethical questions around this. The third lesson is “Trust me I'm a Doctor”, this covers the uses of tissue from patients in research. The fourth lesson is "Design Your own Health Campaign" and is based around students designing a health education campaign including working out the different costs.
Purpose of the Program
The program is designed to educate students about the different aspects of cancer. This includes information not just the disease itself but the ethical and moral issues around it. It gives an overview of the different causes of cancer, both biological and lifestyle.

Topics are covered thoroughly and information is presented in an accessible fashion.
Teacher Controls
The lesson plans that are available in this program can be selected by the teacher. The teacher controls the information that is delivered to students and has access to all the supporting information. The website supports the teacher well in providing them with information at a level which means they will be able to help their students learn effectively.

*Curriculum Coverage *
The website itself makes it clear which of the curriculum subjects are covered in the lesson. The main focus of the content is on PSHCE and Science. However there are cross-curricular links to Maths, RE, English and other subjects such as ICT.

Analysis of Contents


  1. Content appropriate to target age range,

  2. Activities pitched at the right level.

  3. Suitable vocabulary,

  4. Activities relevant and easy to access.

The activities contained in lessons are interesting and thought provoking. Although they are technically only designed for one lesson there is flexibility within them to expand the subject matter further. The tasks work with different learners with evidence of tasks based around visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles.

The information in the task booklets is presented in such a way that difficult concepts are broken down into manageable chunks.

Ease of Use

  1. Clear installation instructions

  2. Classroom resourcse included

  3. Easy to navigate.

  4. Supporting documentation.

  5. Logical progression of content.

  6. Lesson plans and ideas for use in the classroom.

  7. Suitable for whole class teaching.

The resources are easy to use for teachers. It is a simple task for the teacher to deliver the content to the students. All resources are contained within the PDF files and these can either be read online or printed off for easy reference during the lesson. The layout of the booklets also helps with an attractive visual design making the concepts easy to understand.


  1. Good quality images, video, sound.

  2. Internet Links.

  3. British English Spellings

  4. Activities easy to access

The resource is of high quality. The care that has been taken with this resource shines through. It is clear that people across the field of cancer research and education have collaborated well in the production of the website.


  1. Ideas represent good practice.

Rather than formal differentiation being built into the program there is an assumption that teachers will be able to aim the resources appropriately their own students. The lesson plans have enough flexibility built into them to enable effective differentiation. For gifted and talented students there is enough information available through the links section of the website to challenge them.

Cancer Research UK have produced a truly excellent resource, representing a model for how difficult subjects should be addressed. Their passion and expertise in the field shine through in what is a high quality resource. It is attractive to use and presents students not only with a lot of information but challenges them to form their own opinions on a wide range of moral and ethical issues. It is obvious that there has been a great deal of thought gone into the design and content of these resources. I would like to see the website developed in such a way that all different Key Stages can look at these resources and help develop students’ knowledge and awareness. This resource would be a wonderful buy for any Key Stage 4. The fact that it is free is the icing on the cake. I felt so guilty for using such a wonderful resource for nothing that I clicked the "Donate Now" button!

KS 4 Classroom Evaluation by Stuart Pattison

How I Used This Product in my Classroom

  1. Used with whole class

  2. Used by individuals

  3. Used with headphones

Cancer Lesson Plans is a website which contains four different lesson plans based around the different elements of cancer. Each of the lessons is contained as a PDF file which can either be used online or printed out. Once printed, they form an attractive resource which can be filed for future use.

The first lesson “What is Cancer” is timed at an hour and a half although it worked better as two individual sessions of an hour, which gave the students more time to take on board the contents. The booklets contain information for the teacher which is in a useful and clear form and proposes some of the questions that students may ask. The lesson consisted of four sections, the last being a quiz to revise the previously acquired knowledge. I found the lesson to be nicely balanced and was paced at such a level as to consistently engage the students.

The second lesson was timed at an hour and twenty although this can be shortened to an hour or extended to two. The content was based around vaccines and had good links to recent news stories. This helped lead to a strong debate which I was so reluctant to break up that we did not complete all the tasks!

The third lesson “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” is an hour in length and again engaged the students well. The worksheets are of a high quality but are not essential for students’ learning. The fourth lesson, “Design Your Own Health Campaign” has a nominal learning time of an hour but we are using it on a dedicated science day to encourage the students to reflect on the learning.

Ease of Use - Design & Navigation

  1. Logical progression of content.

The layout of the website is simple and benefits from being hosted on the Cancer Research UK website meaning it has the effective layout of the main pages. This has the additional benefit of enabling staff who wish to research it further to access information easily. Clicking on the lesson brings up a page which contains a basic outline of the lesson as well as nominal timings.

These also contain links to the latest research as well as additional resources. There is a simple download link to open up each of the lessons. These open up in Acrobat reader which is generally available and a free download if not.

I found that it is worth printing the pages to make sure that they easily accessible in lessons. The lessons were easy to read with a standard layout. Information could be easily found within them.

In addition there was a link on each of the lesson pages so that you could e-mail them directly for technical support. This showed a nice level of consideration for the people using the site.

Context of Use
The lesson plans are designed clearly for teachers. The layout and information have been organised to make them as easy to use as possible. It would be a helpful addition to produce a fact book for students to research the topic further.

The lessons are flexible enough that teachers can pick and choose which sections they wish to complete with the students. I found that the debate sections worked better with more able students who were able to engage in in-depth discussions about the different topics. The materials could be used confidently with Post-16 students as well

Monitoring & Assessment
Although there are worksheets within the lesson plans the general monitoring and assessment of students’ progress is left to the teacher. This is necessary as the lessons are designed to fit into a larger curriculum so this is by no means a failure of the lesson plans. The quizzes contained at the back of each of the workbooks do, however, give a quick and easy way to access students’ understanding of what they have completed in a non-threatening way.

Feedback from Pupils and Other Staff
Students were generally impressed with the lessons. One girl commented to me that “It was nice to learn about something that matters to us and we see on the news.” There were other comments from students about the fact that they found it to be relevant to them and what they were seeing in the news.

Staff liked the layout of the lessons and the fact that the activities incorporated visual, auditory and kinaesthetic styles of learning and there was a general appreciation of the resources. Probably the best feedback was that the lesson plans were carefully put in a folder for future years.

Research into cancer is something that requires hard work and attention to detail, something that Cancer Research UK have transferred into their educational resources. They have made lesson plans that are engaging and well laid out which engaged the students consistently throughout the sessions.

It is clear how much care has been taken, from the attractive layout of the lesson plans to the quality of resources contained within the booklets. The thought provoking content has the benefit of making students look beyond the headlines in order to form their own opinions as individuals - a remarkable feat in just four lesson plans.