The Skin Cancer Foundation Launches “Sun Smart U” To Raise Skin Cancer Awareness in Schools

Free, Interactive Lesson Plan Teaches Adolescents About Skin Cancer Prevention and Sun Protection

New York, NY (August 27, 2012*) – The Skin Cancer Foundation recently debuted Sun Smart U, an interactive education program geared toward middle school and high school students in grades six through twelve. The program, which includes a robust website for teachers and a free downloadable lesson plan, gives educators the resources to teach youth how to make sun-safe choices that are vital in preventing skin cancer, the world’s most prevalent cancer.

Through Sun Smart U, students will learn the importance of incorporating a proper sun protection regimen (including seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using broad spectrum sunscreen) into their everyday lifestyles. They’ll additionally learn about the dangers of tanning through the real-life story of a young woman with Stage III melanoma. 

“The combination of facts and true stories makes Sun Smart U a great tool for teachers to use when educating students about sun protection,” said Skin Cancer Foundation member Jessica Krant, MD, who medically reviewed the program. “Our hope is to influence youth behavior at a very crucial time in their development, when it comes to making sun-protection decisions. There is clearly a need for this program; only 25 percent of 14-year-olds in the US use sunscreen on a regular basis, and between the ages of 11 and 14, young people often significantly decrease their use of sun protection.1

Sun Smart U was designed in accordance with National Health Standards for middle and high school students and may be particularly useful to Health and Physical Education teachers. The cornerstone of the program is the “Rays Awareness” lesson plan, which includes: 

  • a True/False activity to gauge students’ existing knowledge of skin cancer;
  • real-life video segments relaying the story of a young woman’s struggle with melanoma;
  • an animated segment explaining “Sun Smart Steps;”
  • a quiz that helps students identify their skin type (and inherent susceptibility to sun damage) according to the Fitzpatrick scale, and then matches them with a recognizable celebrity. 

Full-color images of moles help students develop an understanding of different skin cancers and to recognize their warning signs. Additional resources include a free downloadable classroom poster and take-home skin cancer educational materials that students may share with family members. For teachers who are interested in tracking student performance, an in-class essay assignment is available, accompanied by a grading rubric. 

Sun Smart U can be taught in one or two class periods and is available as a PowerPoint presentation, as well as in interactive whiteboard formats SMART and Promethean. Materials are downloadable, printable and projectable so that teachers can adapt the curriculum to best suit each classroom’s needs. All lesson plans and supplemental materials are available for free download on the Foundation’s website, Interactive Whiteboard elements have been designed and provided as a generous gift from Saferock Education. 

Sun Smart U was medically reviewed by Skin Cancer Foundation Medical Council Member Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, Founder of Art of Dermatology in Manhattan and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, NYC. 

  1. Dusza S, Halpern A, Satagopan J, Oliveria S, Weinstock M, Scope A, et al. Prospective study of sunburn and sun behavior patterns during adolescence.  Pediatrics 2012; 129:309-317. 



Carla Barry-Austin;; 212-725-5641

Rebecca Wiley;; 646-583-7988 

About The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. For more information, visit

About Saferock Education
Saferock Education creates new content and digital solutions for STEM and Humanities programs to improve K-12 education. We develop software for tablets, interactive whiteboards, mobile, and PCs. Saferock prepares digital assessments for online or interactive use by schools and districts, as well as state-specific editions of textbooks and supplementary materials.

We partner with publishers and content providers to successfully engage in the digital market for education. Our goal is to develop solutions that make K-12 content better and more engaging for our teachers and our students. For more information, visit: or contact Meghan Roghanchi;; 201.820.2700 x103.

*Press release originally distributed April 2, 2012.