Middle School students study about leukemia

From left, Cole Cooper, Ashton Hulme, Amelia Spurlin, and Kavon Bonakdar look for the presence of leukemia in blood smears.

Seventh Grade Life Science Teacher Marcia Moss implemented a new curriculum in her classroom that is being developed by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital about the same time that Lower School students were raising money for the hospital.

Moss learned about the curriculum when she attended the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools convention in Memphis last fall.

Her students studied chronic myeloid leukemia, its genetic cause, how it affects the blood, and a new chemotherapy drug with only mild side effects that is highly successful in treating it.

In two separate labs, students observed karyotypes and human blood smears to learn to diagnose the disease. Students also examined blood smears microscopically to identify normal blood and blood of children with leukemia.

St. Jude is developing the curriculum for K-12 students to help children, parents, and teachers understand the basic science and treatment of cancer, Moss said. The program’s objectives are to educate and dispel misconceptions, promote healthy lifestyle choices in students to reduce the risk of cancer as an adult, and increase interest in science and scientific careers.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our seventh graders to be able to test this new curriculum,” Moss said.