Teaching Students About James Harrison

The story of James Harrison, also known as “the man with the golden arm,” is a remarkable lesson for today’s students about selflessness, altruism, and how a single individual can have an immense impact on many lives. This article will offer strategies for teaching about James Harrison and engaging students in a multifaceted conversation about the life of this extraordinary man.

Introducing James Harrison

Begin by providing students with a brief biography of James Harrison. Born in Australia in 1936, Harrison opted to donate blood as soon as he became legally eligible after having his own life saved by blood transfusion at age 14. It was later discovered that his blood contained a rare antibody that helped cure Rhesus disease, a potentially lethal condition in unborn babies. As such, he went on to donate plasma every few weeks for over 60 years and ultimately saved more than two million lives.

Focus on the Science

One way to teach about James Harrison is through the lens of science. Discuss Rhesus disease and its effect on newborns; its cause, which lies within the incompatibility of the mother’s and child’s Rh factor; and how Anti-D injections administered during pregnancy can prevent its occurrence. This will enable students to appreciate the profound impact of Harrison’s contribution.

Highlight Selflessness and Commitment

Another important angle to consider when teaching about James Harrison is his unwavering dedication to saving lives. Despite knowing that every donation could have caused injuries to his veins, he continued donating blood for over six decades – a true testament to his relentless altruistic spirit. By emphasizing this aspect of Harrison’s story, educators can inspire students to think about their own capacity for selflessness and generosity.

Connect with Local Blood Donation Services

To bring home the message of Harrison’s incredible legacy, teachers can invite representatives from local blood banks or donation centers to speak to students about the importance of donating blood. This will provide students with a real-life connection to Harrison’s story and may even inspire them to become donors themselves.

Incorporate Multimedia Resources

Supplement the lesson with various multimedia resources, such as videos, documentaries, and news articles highlighting James Harrison’s life and contributions. By providing students with a variety of materials, educators can engage different learning styles and foster a comprehensive understanding of Harrison’s achievements.


James Harrison’s inspirational story is an excellent teaching opportunity for educators to highlight the importance of selflessness, dedication, and one person’s ability to make a significant difference in the lives of others. By embracing various teaching strategies, educators can ensure their students learn valuable lessons from this extraordinary individual.

Choose your Reaction!