Home > For Health Educators: The Melanoma Lesson

New Website for Health & Wellness Educators 

Please Note: Most of the information and resources previously accessible through this page are now available at melanomaeducation.net, a new site for health and wellness educators.

The teacher education video, student videos, and all other former SkinCheck® Class resources are accessible from the new site upon completion of a one-time online registration form.

The lesson plan has been adapted to online content delivery but otherwise remains the same.

Switching from discs and hard copies to online viewing has several advantages:

  • The online videos and resources are now available to all middle and high school health and wellness educators throughout the US and worldwide.

  • The prerequisite teacher education video is available online with no time limitations and will be updated annually.

  • Individual teachers can watch the teacher education video, show the student videos, and present the lesson at any time without depending on colleagues to provide videos, bookmarks, and other lesson resources.

Background: Health educators are generally not well-informed about melanoma and often do not include the subject in their courses. A 1996 CDC survey found that 74 percent of adolescents and young adults had little or no knowledge of melanoma. Nearly 50 percent of the general public shared this lack of knowledge. While most students realize that overexposure to the sun increases their risk to skin cancer, many have the impression that skin cancer is "no big deal" and only affects older people. Many students also believe that indoor UV tanning is safe. A 1999 nationwide survey of nurses' children found that seven percent of 14-year-old females and 35 percent of 17-year-old females used tanning beds regularly.

The reality is that melanoma is common, causes the majority of skin cancer deaths, and is the most prevalent of all cancers in the 25 to 29 age group. By age 18, the most damaging sun exposure has already occurred and cannot be reversed. Additionally, at least 30 percent of melanomas are believed to be unrelated to sun exposure. Sun protection is ineffective when used as the primary basis of skin cancer education for teens.

The Melanoma Lesson (formerly The SkinCheck® Class) is a single-session lesson on early detection and prevention of melanoma for middle and high school students. It is easy for educators to learn and easy to teach. It is currently taught in over 1,700 schools throughout the US.

Lesson Summary

  • Brief discussion with class to learn what students know about melanoma.
  • Watch student video (different videos for middle and high school).
  • Brief post-video discussion with class to assess knowledge/attitude changes.
  • Show online "See Spot" document and discuss with students.
  • Assign students to teach their parents about melanoma using "See Spot" document.

Services & Resources Provided

  • Melanoma Education for Middle and High School Wellness Educators, an online teacher education video with a 30-minute narrated PowerPoint presentation (watching it is a prerequisite for accessing free student videos). The video received a 2010 Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Detailed one-session classroom lesson plan for health educators.
  • Should've, Could've, Would've (2008), a 23-minute online video for middle school students. The video received a 2009 Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • My Melanoma Vlog (2008), a 16-minute online video for high school students. The video received a 2009 Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • An online single-page "See Spot" document that complements the videos and focuses on early self-detection of melanoma.
  • Teacher resources including PowerPoint images from the teacher education video, printable classroom documents, and supplementary information.