Blood drive increases curriculum connections

Issue: Volume 100, Number 3

Posted: 17 March 2021
Reference #: 1HAHyC

A group of students at Hillcrest High School has been helping the New Zealand Blood Service in Hamilton – and they have gained NCEA credits for it.

For the past five years, the Hillcrest High School’s Level 2 social science (sociology) students have run a blood drive, which has resulted in an increase in blood donations and the school winning a trophy from New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) for several years running.

Head of Social Sciences Ryan Cox says Hillcrest High first became involved when NZBS promoted some educational resources. Since then, student engagement has increased and, in 2020, the project was expanded to offer credits for Health and Environment for Sustainability standards.

Student engagement

“We thought some of the resources would work really well with the Level 2 standard AS91282 (Personal Involvement,) which focuses on an action in relation to rights and responsibilities. Also, it’s good for our students to do stuff within the school community; they didn’t necessarily understand the importance of blood donations, so it opens our students up to that and how they can have a role. 

“The students work with a liaison from NZBS to understand what needs to be done and they learn about the importance of blood donations. Students run sign-ups; they speak at assembly and advertise it on social media to get students and teachers to sign up and donate blood. 

“The kids do everything – as well as organising it, they have to write a plan and a report. They help with refreshments and try to create fun activities on the day,” says Ryan.

Whether or not students donate blood themselves, Ryan says they can all play a role in helping to organise the annual blood drive, or encouraging businesses to donate blood.

“We had one class focusing on the nuts and bolts of our blood drive, and another class had a separate task, which was contacting or promoting it outside of our school to local businesses.

“Student engagement has increased because it’s hands on and they’re engaging with a relevant issue,” explains Ryan.

Crossover credits 

As a result of the Level 4 Covid-19 lockdown and school closures, Ryan says the school looked at different ways that senior students could be rewarded for their work. The project was expanded to include some standards from outside the social studies subject area, which focus on wellbeing and sustainability around personal actions to address an issue.

“The social sciences naturally lead to things like this because we are looking at quite relevant or topical issues,” explains Ryan. 

“Students in sociology organise the blood drive each year, but last year the blood drive project focused on taking action linked to rights and responsibilities, wellbeing and social sustainability, which added more depth and breadth to the current assessment.

“There was heaps of crossover between those subject areas. Our teachers went a lot deeper into the issues around blood donation and how it links to wellbeing and social sustainability.” 

Thinking outside the square

The initiative has sparked discussion among staff at Hillcrest High School. Ryan hopes that the cross-curricula trial last year will ultimately result in Level 2 health (which is not yet offered at the school) being involved in the project for NCEA assessment as well.

“We tend to stick to our subject areas, but the lockdown forced us to think outside that and how we can integrate standards from across other learning areas for students to see the connection but also reward them, especially last year, with the credits they deserve for the work they are doing.”

Staff and students could see the connections between different subjects and the initiative helped people in other subject areas to think about options.

“I certainly think it’s going to encourage people to look at assessment and how we can make better connections across subject areas,” says Ryan. 

“For example, this year, within the social science faculty, we’re trying to integrate things: whether it’s religious studies and history, or religious studies and sociology. It just makes sense because there’s so much crossover between the standards and the content we’re teaching.” 

Actions achieve results

There was some concern that last year’s blood drive might be impacted by Covid-19, but the school was prepared.

“The blood drive was post-lockdown, but we were mindful that we could be going back into lockdown. We even looked at alternatives – if the blood drive was cancelled due to Covid alert levels, we would still raise awareness about NZBS and blood donations. The students would still be taking action and would have met the standard if the blood drive was cancelled. 

“We could have carried on with online teaching. We do everything digitally anyway through Google apps and our online learning management system called Schoology, which is like Google Classroom,” explains Ryan.

“We thought fewer people might donate with Covid, but last year we received the most donations we ever had – between 90 and 100 donations,” he adds.

New Zealand Blood Service’s educational resources.(external link)

Student kōrero

Q: What were some of the main things you learned from your involvement with the blood drive?

A main thing that I learned from the blood drive was mostly around blood products in New Zealand; how many individuals have been affected from lack of people giving blood. I also learnt about how much went into the process of collecting blood. 

Q: What did you enjoy the most about the blood drive?

I enjoyed knowing that we as a school and community were helping individuals to get the help that they needed though the drive. It was especially overwhelming how many people we got to donate so that was definitely a good moment. 

Q: What were the challenges?

A challenge that I had faced in my role in the blood drive was the organisation of getting people in to give blood. We had issues with students not showing up so having to get backups and move around the list was a little tricky, but once we had figured it out, the process ran a lot smoother.

Holly, Year 13

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:25 pm, 17 March 2021

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts