Teachers, Students Turn Cancer Unit into Service Project

Johnston students enrolled in biology recently paired a class unit with a service project – learning about cancer and compassion.

JHS and JMS students packing care bags for local cancer patients.

JHS and JMS students packed care bags for local cancer patients in conjunction with a biology class unit.

Science teacher Rachel Jensen started a service project with her mother, a current cancer patient, to collect supplies and make care bags for patients undergoing cancer treatments. When the biology classes at the high school and middle school began units on cancer, teachers saw an opportunity to go beyond the textbook and expand Jensen’s project.

According to JHS biology teacher Sara Kate Howe, the biology class unit on cancer provided each student with a fictional patient case study to give students a deeper understanding of cancer and cell cycle. In addition to this case study, students were asked to collect supplies such as hats, water bottles, lotion, crackers, and other items that could be packaged into care bags and donated to local cancer treatment units. The students then decorated the bags with words of encouragement and packed them with the donated supplies.

“This service project served to create an authentic component to the unit,” said Howe. “It helped students show compassion towards real patients going through the diagnoses and treatments they were learning about.”

Students packed 300 bags and raised over $160 for Broadlawns Oncology and Hematology Center and local hospitals. Bags were also sent to aid Jensen’s mother with her project.