Sun Smart U
Rays Awareness: Preventing Skin Cancer Lesson
The Skin Cancer Foundation has developed the free Sun Smart U education program to help teachers expose students to the importance of sun protection and give them the tools they need to prevent skin cancer.
Sun Smart U is consistent with the CDC’s National Health Education Standards for middle school and high school students. The interactive lesson plan features true stories from young skin cancer survivors, medically reviewed Prevention Guidelines, handouts and activities, and can be taught in one or two class periods. Sun Smart U is available in a variety of formats.
Lesson Title: Rays Awareness — Preventing Skin Cancer
Grade Levels: 6–12
Standards: This lesson has been aligned to CDC National Health Education Standards (NHES) for grades 6-8; 9-12.
Duration: Two Class Periods (40 minutes each)
In this lesson, students learn about ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds, how it affects their skin, and why protecting themselves from both forms of UV exposure is critical to preventing skin cancer. Two types of UV rays reach Earth’s surface: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA rays are longer and primarily cause premature skin aging, while UVB rays are shorter and commonly cause sunburns. Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to skin damage, eye damage, and skin cancers. This lesson teaches students lifelong sun safety habits.
Objectives: After finishing this lesson, students will be able to:
- understand ultraviolet radiation, including UVA and UVB rays.
- explain how UV radiation affects their skin.
- understand the effects of indoor and outdoor tanning.
- understand the various forms of skin cancer.
- understand how to detect skin cancer.
- protect themselves from UV radiation exposure.
The Rays Awareness lesson has been medically reviewed by:
Jessica J. Krant, M.D., M.P.H., Founder of Art of Dermatology on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, NYC
Interactive Whiteboard elements have been designed and provided as a generous gift from Saferock Education.
CDC “Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum”
Met by The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Rays Awareness Lesson
“Focuses on clear health goals and related behavioral outcomes.”
“Focuses on increasing personal perceptions of risk and harmfulness of engaging in specific health risk behaviors and reinforcing protective behaviors.”
“Addresses social pressures and media influences.”
“Builds personal competence, social competence, and self efficacy by addressing skills.”
“Provides functional health knowledge that is basic, accurate, and directly contributes to health-promoting decisions and behaviors.”
“Uses strategies designed to personalize information and engage students.”
“Provides age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate information, learning strategies, teaching methods and materials.”
“Incorporates learning strategies, teaching methods and materials that are culturally inclusive.”
CDC National Health Education Standards (NHES) for Grades 6-8 and 9-12
Met by The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Rays Awareness Lesson*
*Discussion questions can focus on specific standards.
Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
1.8.1 Analyze the relationship between healthy behaviors and personal health.
1.8.3 Analyze how the environment affects personal health.
1.8.4 Describe how family history can affect personal health.
1.8.5 Describe ways to reduce or prevent injuries and other adolescent health problems.
1.8.6 Explain how appropriate health care can promote personal health.
1.8.7 Describe the benefits of and barriers to practicing healthy behaviors.
1.8.8 Examine the likelihood of injury or illness if engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
1.8.9 Examine the potential seriousness of injury or illness if engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
1.12.1 Predict how healthy behaviors can affect health status.
1.12.2 Describe the interrelationships of emotional, intellectual, physical, and social health.
1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
1.12.4 Analyze how genetics and family history can impact personal health.
1.12.5 Propose ways to reduce or prevent injuries and health problems.
1.12.6 Analyze the relationship between access to health care and health status.
1.12.7 Compare and contrast the benefits of and barriers to practicing a variety of healthy behaviors.
1.12.8 Analyze personal susceptibility to injury, illness, or death if engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
1.12.9 Analyze the potential severity of injury or illness if engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology and other factors on health behaviors.
2.8.1 Examine how the family influences the health of adolescents.
2.8.2 Describe the influence of culture on health beliefs, practices and behaviors.
2.8.3 Describe how peers influence health and unhealthy behaviors.
2.8.5 Analyze how messages from the media influence health behaviors.
2.8.7 Explain how the perceptions of norms influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
2.8.8 Explain the influence of personal values and beliefs on individual health practices and behaviors.
2.8.9 Describe how some health risk behaviors can influence the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
2.12.1 Analyze how the family influences the health of individuals.
2.12.2 Analyze how the culture supports and challenges health beliefs, practices, and behaviors.
2.12.3 Analyze how peers influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
2.12.4 Evaluate how the school and community can affect personal health practice and behaviors.
2.12.5 Evaluate the effect of media on personal and family health.
2.12.6 Evaluate the impact of technology on personal, family, and community health.
2.12.7 Analyze how the perceptions of norms influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
2.12.8 Analyze the influence of personal values and beliefs on individual health practices and behaviors.
2.12.9 Analyze how some health risk behaviors can influence the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
2.12.10 Analyze how public health policies and government regulations can influence health promotion and disease prevention.
Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products and services to enhance health.
3.8.1 Analyze the validity of health information, products and services.
3.8.2 Access valid health information from home, school, and community.
3.8.3 Determine the accessibility of products that enhance health.
3.8.5 Locate valid and reliable health products and services.
3.12.1 Evaluate the validity of health information, products, and services.
3.12.2 Use resources from home, school, and community that provide valid health information.
3.12.3 Determine the accessibility of products and services that enhance health.
3.12.4 Determine when professional health services may be required.
3.12.5 Access valid and reliable health products and services.
Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
4.8.1 Apply effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills to enhance health.
4.8.2 Demonstrate refusal and negotiation skills that avoid or reduce health risks.
4.8.4 Demonstrate how to ask for assistance to enhance the health of self and others.
4.12.1 Use skills for communicating effectively with family, peers, and others to enhance health.
4.12.2 Demonstrate refusal, negotiation, and collaboration skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
4.12.3 Demonstrate strategies to prevent, manage, or resolve interpersonal conflicts without harming self or others.
4.12.4 Demonstrate how to ask for and offer assistance to enhance the health of self and others.
Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
5.8.1 Identify circumstances that can help or hinder healthy decision making.
5.8.2 Determine when health-related situations require the application of a thoughtful decision-making process.
5.8.3 Distinguish when individual or collaborative decision making is appropriate.
5.8.4 Distinguish between healthy and unhealthy alternatives to health-related issues or problems.
5.8.5 Predict the potential short-term impact of each alternative on self and others.
5.8.6 Choose healthy alternatives over unhealthy alternatives when making a decision.
5.8.7 Analyze the outcomes of a health-related decision.
5.12.1 Examine barriers that can hinder healthy decision making.
5.12.2 Determine the value of applying a thoughtful decision-making process in health-related situations.
5.12.3 Justify when individual or collaborative decision making is appropriate.
5.12.4 Generate alternatives to health-related issues or problems.
5.12.5 Predict the potential short-term and long-term impact of each alternative on self and others.
5.12.6 Defend the healthy choice when making decisions.
5.12.7 Evaluate the effectiveness of health-related decisions.
Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.
6.8.1 Assess personal health practices.
6.8.2 Develop a goal to adopt, maintain, or improve a personal health practice.
6.12.1 Assess personal health practices and overall health status.
6.12.2 Develop a plan to attain a personal health goal that addresses strengths, needs, and risks.
6.12.3 Implement strategies and monitor progress in achieving a personal health goal.
6.12.4 Formulate an effective long-term personal health plan.
Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors to avoid or reduce health risks.
7.8.1 Explain the importance of assuming responsibility for personal health behaviors.
7.8.2 Demonstrate healthy practices and behaviors that will maintain or improve the health of self and others.
7.8.3 Demonstrate behaviors to avoid or reduce health risks to self and others.
7.12.1 Analyze the role of individual responsibility for enhancing health.
7.12.2 Demonstrate a variety of healthy practices and behaviors that will maintain or improve the health of self and others.
7.12.3 Demonstrate a variety of behaviors to avoid or reduce health risks to self and others.
Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.
8.8.1 State a health-enhancing position on a topic and support it with accurate information.
8.8.2 Demonstrate how to influence and support others to make positive health choices.
8.8.3 Work cooperatively to advocate for healthy individuals, families and schools.
8.12.1 Utilize accurate peer and societal norms to formulate a health-enhancing message.
8.12.2 Demonstrate how to influence and support others to make positive health choices.
8.12.3 Work cooperatively as an advocate for improving personal, family, and community health.
8.12.4 Adapt health messages and communication techniques to a specific target audience.
Chelsea’s Experience with Skin Cancer — Chelsea shares her experience with melanoma
“A Shocking Diagnosis” — Article and video diary from EXTRA correspondent and melanoma survivor Jerry Penacoli
Jersey Shore Tanning Intervention — from the TV show EXTRA
Natalie’s Experience with Skin Cancer — A 23-year old woman with melanoma
Taylor’s Story — A 27-year old man U.S. Air Force pilot with melanoma