LESSON 2: Myths About Cancer

Time Required: One 40-minute class period

Materials: Worksheet 2, Internet access


1. Write the word myth on the board. Ask students whether they know what the word means. Guide students to define myth as "a widely held idea or belief that is not true." Chart the responses and make sure they have tangible examples.

2. Remind students that they have been learning a lot about what cancer is, and how it can be treated. Explain that there is still a lot about cancer that they may not know or understand. In addition, there may be things that they think or believe about cancer that are not true—that are myths. For example, cancer cannot be spread from one person to another like a cold.

3. Distribute Worksheet 2: Myths About Cancer to students. Explain that in this activity they will answer questions about cancer, some of which are true and some of which are myths (or false). Instruct students to complete the activity on their own or in pairs. If possible, allow students to use outside resources such as encyclopedias or the Internet to help them answer the questions. Students should provide evidence of their answer choice regardless of if the answer is true or false.

4. Once complete, review the answers as a class. (Answers: 1, 2, 5, & 8 are True; 3, 4, 6, & 7 are False.) For each of the false/myth questions, ask students to explain why they think the myth came about. There are no wrong answers here, so encourage students to say what they think. It is important for them to understand the reasons why some ideas become myths.

5. Divide students into three even groups. Read aloud the instructions in the extension part of the worksheet. Explain that, as part of understanding the truth about cancer, students will be participating in a research assignment about different types of cancer treatment. Assign each group to research one treatment method that was discussed in the previous lesson. Once complete, have each group present their treatment. Encourage students to ask each other questions about the treatments that were researched.

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