For Teachers

What Teachers Need to Know

What is the Cancer Awareness Creative Challenge?

The Cancer Awareness Creative Challenge is a collaboration between Colorado-based nonprofit Catch It In Time and the American Cancer Society to bring cancer awareness to schools in a fun, engaging, and unexpected way. By encouraging high school students to create innovative and artistic ways to spread information–including video, music or podcasting, and graphic design–the Challenge brings together students’ interests and talents with life-saving information on cancer prevention. 

Through participating in the Challenge, students will develop important creative and organizational skills, including research, producing creative products for a targeted audience, working on a deadline, and more. While honing these skills, students will also learn about the early diagnosis of cancer and steps they can take to reduce their risk. 

Additional direct student benefits of Challenge participation include: 

  • Producing a piece for a creative portfolio 
  • Opportunities to interact and network with creative professionals across the country 
  • Opportunities to have work featured online and across national channels 
  • Potential for cash prizes, internships, and more 


Take a Load Off

As a teacher, we know you have a lot on your plate–especially in the post-COVID landscape. The Creative Challenge is designed to make your life a little bit easier with: 

  • Teacher grants up to $200 
  • Sample lesson plans to help you incorporate the Creative Challenge for virtual and in-person classes 
  • Easy integration into most class subjects, including video production, writing, science, and more


Impact Through Art 

Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer is on the rise in the United States, and is often diagnosed in late stages simply because of a lack of awareness and understanding. The Challenge provides high school and college students the opportunity to learn about symptoms, screening recommendations, and healthy habits to lower risk for the rest of their lives–and encourages them to become ambassadors and activists within their communities. 

Lesson Plans

Ways to incorporate this challenge into your curriculum

As part of our ongoing attempt to ensure the Cancer Awareness Creative Challenge is as accessible as possible to both students and teachers, we’ve provided a short series of lesson plans in this toolkit. These lesson plans were created with creative classes in mind, but are easily incorporated into curricula of all types. In addition, these lessons are not tied to state or national standards, though they can be adjusted to ensure compliance as necessary. 

Please feel free to use these simple lesson plans as-is or use them as a starting point to develop your own lessons and curricula around the Creative Challenge. The series includes four lessons: 

  • Lesson 1: Project Proposal 
  • Lesson 2: Research 
  • Lesson 3: Writing and Editing 
  • Lesson 4: Production and Submission


Each plan can be used singularly or in conjunction, depending on the needs and goals of your class. If used all together, each lesson can build upon the former to guide students through the process of creating and submitting a video for the Challenge. Regardless of how many lessons you choose to use, each includes appropriate resources and worksheets to make curriculum integration as easy and painless as possible. 

If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about these lesson plans or incorporating the Challenge into your classroom, please don’t hesitate to reach out to emily (@) catchitintime (dot) org. 

Thank you for your interest and participation in the Cancer Awareness Creative Challenge! We’re thrilled to have you along. 

– The Cancer Awareness Creative Challenge team

01. Project Proposal

Objectives: Learn how to create client specifications and pitch creative ideas to clients/peers.  

Materials: Creative Challenge rules/regulations, previous Creative Challenge winner videos


  1. Print off, distribute the link to, or pull up on screen share the Creative Challenge rules and regulations. Discuss the guidelines and how to ensure videos are compliant. 
  2. Distribute the link to the previous winning videos and samples or pull them up on screen share. Discuss similarities and differences, then allow class to brainstorm project ideas as class (see also the inspiration list below). 
  3. Divide class into groups or individuals and have students create 1 to 3 ideas for a creative project that ties into cancer awareness. Have them fill out the worksheet below or create a presentation to class requirements/specifications. 


Grading: Grade based on creativity, teamwork, and quality of idea presentation. 

Video idea inspiration: 

  • A time traveler from the future trying to figure out why cervical cancer is almost gone in the future (hint: it’s the HPV vaccine) 
  • A puppet show about how smoking increases risk for various types of cancer
  • A ‘dating show’ with a specific type of cancer as the person seeking a date and prevention methods or treatment options as the “bachelors” 
  • A music video to an original song about performing self-exams for cancer (breast, testicular, and skin in particular) 
  • A cooking video with a healthy recipe, discussing the cancer prevention aspects of the ingredients 
  • A zombie or superhero video to explain how cancer develops (i.e. the zombies/villains are cancer cells and the survivors/heroes are healthy cells attempting to fend them off) 
  • An animation about lesser-known cancer symptoms to look out for 


Idea Worksheet: 

  1. Describe your overall project concept in one to three sentences.
  2. Why do you think this concept is interesting / entertaining / thought provoking / educational? What makes it unique
  3. How do you plan to incorporate information about cancer awareness without making it the focal point of your video?
  4. What resources do you have available to create a project based on this concept?
  5. What resources do you need to create a project based on this concept? 

02. Research

Objectives: Improve research skills and teamwork ability while learning about cancer prevention. 

Materials: Internet-capable device, word processor and/or included worksheet, phone and/or video conferencing ability.


  1. This project can be done either individually or in teams. If in teams, divide class or allow students to choose their own groups. Assign each group a type of cancer to research, or allow students to choose their own from the list below. 
  2. Set a time limit and source restrictions, if desired. The American Cancer Society website is a good place for students to start. 
  3. Have students turn in a worksheet, essay, or presentation that includes their findings on their assigned cancer, as well as their process and sources for gathering that information. 


Grading: Grades based on finding and utilizing reliable sources, teamwork (if applicable), and thoroughness of research. 

Types of cancer to consider: 

  1. Lung cancer 
  2. Colorectal cancer 
  3. Skin cancer 
  4. Breast cancer 
  5. Ovarian cancer 
  6. Leukemia/Lymphoma 
  7. Brain cancer 
  8. Prostate cancer 
  9. Cervical cancer 
  10. Mouth/tongue cancer 

Cancer Research Worksheet

  1. Name or group members:
  2. Type of cancer researched:
  3. What are the risk factors for this cancer?
  4. What are the prevention or risk reduction recommendations for this cancer?
  5. What are some of the symptoms of this type of cancer?
  6. Why should teens and young adults be aware of this type of cancer? How does it affect younger people?
  7. List two to three other facts about this type of cancer. 



  1. How did you find these sources? How do you know they’re reliable and accurate? 
  2. How did you work as a team (if in groups)? 

03. Writing and Editing

Objectives: Improve creative writing and editing/proofreading skills. 

Materials: Word processor, internet-capable device and/or printer. 


  1. If students went through lesson plan #1 for research, divide class into former groups. Otherwise, divide class into groups and assign a type of cancer and/or cancer-prevention activity (such as exercising or healthy eating), or allow them to choose their own from the lists below. 
  2. Optional: instruct students on the basics of script writing or story formatting. Use resources like this post, or have students research and implement proper formatting on their own. 
  3. Have students: 
    • Write a one- to two-page script or plan for a creative video or audio production about their assigned type of cancer and/or healthy activity. Include a list of suggested or required information (idea lists below) to include. Emphasize creativity, making the plan/script entertaining, and getting information across in a clear and interesting way. 
    • Write a short story or creative nonfiction essay that includes information about their assigned type of cancer. Emphasize creativity, making the story entertaining, and getting information across in a clear and interesting way.


Grading: Grades based on creativity, spelling and grammar, and inclusion of required cancer-related information. Extra credit can be provided for the most creative plan. 

Types of cancer students may choose from: 

  1. Lung cancer 
  2. Colorectal cancer 
  3. Skin cancer 
  4. Breast cancer 
  5. Ovarian cancer 
  6. Leukemia/Lymphoma 
  7. Brain cancer 
  8. Prostate cancer 
  9. Cervical cancer 
  10. Mouth/tongue cancer 

The American Cancer Society has a list of ways to reduce cancer risk to utilize, too. 

Idea list for suggested/required information: 

  1. Symptoms of assigned cancer 
  2. Screening recommendations for assigned cancer (if any)
  3. Rates of assigned cancer in young adults 
  4. Ways to lower risk of assigned cancer 
  5. How to talk to friends or family about assigned cancer risk  

04. Production and Submission

Objectives: Improve student creativity and time-management skills with emphasis on specific classroom artistic goals

Materials: Video and audio recording equipment for each group, editing software (note: all materials can be as simple as a smart phone camera and free online software, depending on available resources). Alternatively, graphics/photo editing software, physical art tools, audio-specific recording and editing software. 


  1. Have students review their video concept, research, and scripts with their groups or with the entire class. From their previous work, students should create a timeline, shot list, and plan for filming. 
  2. If necessary, instruct students on use of filming equipment. The ACS has provided some general tips and tricks for filming for YouTube and Tiktok, available on our site, in addition to resources created by the Catch It In Time team [links TBA]. 
  3. Discuss how to ensure video will be compliant with Creative Challenge regulations [link TBA] and any preferred class guidelines like camera settings or graphic medium. 
  4. Students must create and polish their project by the teacher-provided deadline and present to the class (can be done over screen share). Have class discuss and critique peer projects, provide feedback for improvement. 
  5. Allow students to edit and rework as necessary before resubmission, then discuss the finished projects. 
  6. If students will be submitting to the Creative Challenge, instruct them to register and submit on the website [link TBA]. 

Grading: Grade based on creativity, use of techniques discussed in class, and effectiveness of messaging. Extra credit may be awarded per teacher discretion if projects win recognition in the Challenge.