About This Lesson Plan



Lessons for Grades 9-12

Lesson 1: Getting the News

Lead a class discussion of the different benefits that a positive attitude can have on a person's health.

Students will complete writing and comprehension exercises in order to become familiar with the role of supporting a cancer survivor.

Worksheet 1: Getting the News (PDF)

1. Begin Lesson 1 by watching the video of Timmy Baker’s story (“Getting Support”). Discuss why Timmy’s diagnosis was such a surprise to him. Talk about Timmy’s attitude toward the disease and toward his new daily routines.

2. Tell students that sometimes a cancer diagnosis is a complete surprise. Scientists don’t know the cause of every kind of cancer, so even a seemingly healthy person can be surprised by it. Also cancer can be caused by more than one factor. For example, someone’s genetic makeup might combine with environmental factors known to cause cancer, such as tobacco smoke. There are many things one can do to guard against getting cancer, but sometimes a diagnosis can still come unexpectedly.

3. Ask the class why it was important for Timmy to have a positive attitude. Discuss the different benefits a positive attitude can have on one’s health. These include keeping up one’s energy level in order to undergo treatment, not getting discouraged if treatment goes slowly, and being a good role model to others.

4. Ask the class why it was important for Timmy’s friends, teachers, and family to support him throughout his ordeal. Discuss the benefits that this kind of support can bring to someone living with cancer. The benefits include helping someone feel less alone, helping alleviate the fears about daily responsibilities (such as schoolwork, etc.), and helping someone stay positive.

5. Distribute Worksheet 1. Instruct students to complete the two sections of the worksheet, which include both comprehension and writing activities. If necessary, show the video again in order to refresh their memories. Encourage listening skills by having students share their responses in small groups.

  • A: 1) He thought he couldn’t get cancer because he was a young high school athlete and very healthy.
  • 2) He was surprised and thought the doctors were lying.
  • 3) He wanted his friends to be positive and happy.
  • 4) They made him feel important and valued, while also helping him with schoolwork and scheduling.
  • 5) Answers will vary.
6. BONUS ACTIVITY:  Invite students to share stories about receiving bad news. Stories should include both the nature of the bad news and, more importantly, how they dealt with the news immediately after learning about it.

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