LESSON 2: Helping

Objective: Students will develop empathy and generate ideas through writing about how they can help people who have cancer.

Time Required: One 40-minute class period

Materials: Student Worksheet 2 Helping, class period, chart paper, and marker


1. Remind students that they have been learning about cancer. In order to review Lesson 1, have students go to different sides of the room based on their answers to this question: Do you think that you can catch cancer from someone?
Reemphasize that cancer is not something you can catch, that most people who get cancer are older, and that many people can live a long time with and after cancer.

2. Ask students, How many of you have ever been sick enough to stay in bed all day? If you can, offer one of your own experiences.

3. Lead a class discussion or a think-pair-share discussion using the following questions:
  • Are there foods you like better when you’re sick?
  • Are there special toys or blankets you like to have with you when you’re sick?
  • What types of activities make you feel better?
  • What have your family and friends done to help you feel better?
4. Distribute Student Worksheet 2: Helping to students. Invite them to write (and/or draw, depending on your students’ literacy skills) their story about the last time they were sick in bed and what made them feel better.

5. Allow students to share their narratives after they are finished writing or drawing. Ask them how other people might feel when they are sick with a serious illness such as cancer.

6. As a class, brainstorm ways to help someone who is sick. Give students an example of a specific situation involving a person with cancer to guide the conversation. Create an anchor chart titled “Ways to Help and Support” that can be referenced later.

Add the following ideas to the list if needed:
  • Talk to him or her
  • Give the person special foods
  • Make him or her comfortable
  • Make the person smile or laugh
  • Take his or her mind off feeling sick
  • Do something for the person that he or she needs help with or cannot do alone
7. Have students role-play in pairs or small groups. One student should pretend that he or she is sick, and the other person can offer to do something to help that student feel better. The illness can be something that you can catch or something that you cannot catch. Encourage students to reference the anchor chart for ideas on how to support someone who is sick.

Extension Activity: Invite the school nurse or guidance counselor to visit the class to answer questions about illnesses and to share knowledge about ways to help people who are sick and/or living with cancer.

Help | Privacy Policy




(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.