April 25, 2019

High School Cancer Masterclasses

About the program

The High School Cancer Masterclasses (HSCM) is an educational outreach program bringing high-quality cancer teaching to Australian high school students. The program is free-of-charge, supported by the ACHSC’s partners, and reached 150 students in 2019. 

Our program is designed for Year 10 students, but all interested Year 9 – 12 students are welcome. The program consolidates and extends beyond the usual Year 10 science curriculum to help students develop a foundational understanding of cancer. 

There are 5 masterclasses in the program, which runs over 8 – 10 weeks in Term 3. Each masterclass runs for 90 minutes and covers a specific area of study from the ACHSC’s Cancer Syllabus.  The Syllabus has been developed with help from leading University of Melbourne academics and mentors. 

Experienced, high-achieving university student tutors are selected and trained by the ACHSC to deliver each Masterclass. Tutors are also expected to provide mentorship to participating students about future careers in research or the health sciences. 2 senior medical students at the University of Melbourne will co-direct the 2020 program: Vandita Mattoo (MD3) and Jordan Santucci (MD4).  

2020 Masterclasses Program

Due to the COVID pandemic, the 2020 Masterclasses Program will be delivered primarily through an online format, using platforms such as Zoom and Google Classrooms. 

The 5 masterclasses in the 2020 program are: 

  • Masterclass 1 – Basics of Cancer Biology (week of 20th July)
  • Masterclass 2 – Causes of Cancer (week of 3rd August)
  • Masterclass 3 – Cancer Prevention & Screening (week of 17th August)
  • Masterclass 4 – Cancer Treatment (week of 31st August)
  • Masterclass 5 – Cancer Project Planning & Development (week of 14th September)

The exact time and date of each tutorial will be determined by preferences of students and teachers, and tutors’ availability.

All participating students will receive a copy of the HSCM Student Notebook, a 50-page workbook containing explanations and questions to accompany the tutorials, as well as links to additional resources for students interested in learning more.

History

HSCM was launched as a pilot program in 2018. With the generous help and support of supervising teachers, we ran tutorials at the MacRobertson Girls’ High School and Camberwell Grammar School in Victoria. Students were delighted to participate, and we realised the demand for our program.  

Building on this, in 2019, over 150 students across 8 Victorian High Schools participated in the program. Teachers and students provided positive feedback on the Masterclasses’ engaging design, presentation clarity, and content relevance. 

We hope to make HSCM bigger and better in 2020, giving more students the opportunity to learn about cancer, which is estimated to affect 1 in 2 Australians by age 80.