The purpose of this unit is to allow students to explore epidemics and pandemics, and connect historical research to further enhance their knowledge and ignite intellectual curiosity. The entire project will focus on the research process in order to prepare students for the demands of college writing. Specifically, the unit requires students to synthesize scientific knowledge, historical inquiry and current events. Students will explore and analyze primary and secondary sources as well as scientific data acquired throughout the unit to understand infectious diseases and its impact on American history. The unit will be centered on the following essential question: How have the federal government and individuals confronted the possibility of infectious diseases devastating their culture and population?
I teach social studies in an urban magnet arts high school. We have students from the city of New Haven and surrounding suburban communities with a very diverse student body from all socio-economic, racial and religious backgrounds. Every scholar studies an art (dance, music, chorus, visual arts, theatre or creative writing) and must earn three social studies and science credits in order to graduate. As seniors having fulfilled their requirements to graduate, many students take an elective course in social studies or science to continue their interest. In organizing this unit, I envisioned working closely with a science teacher to illustrate how interdisciplinary learning works. The lessons will be coordinated with the science curriculum in Biology as well as Anatomy and Physiology and will be taught in Civics to students during the second marking period.
Equipped with the latest technology in our school, teachers will use PowerPoint presentations to provide information and guide instruction and students will examine primary sources in photographs, letters, government reports and newspaper articles. In order to "hook" students on individual lessons, primary and secondary quotations will be provided and students will be required to analyze the statements at times. I have included examples of quotes throughout this unit for teachers to use as Do Now! assessments and in their PowerPoint presentations.
Students will learn and increase their content vocabulary and study how infectious diseases have influenced history. Throughout the lessons of the unit, students will employ critical thinking to synthesize historical events with current events in order to make educated decisions affecting all people. Students will debate the role of the federal government, public health officials and the scientific community in studying infectious diseases and preventing its spread. At the conclusion of the unit, students will write an essay answering the following essential question: Is the United States health care system equipped and capable of combating an infectious disease and protecting its citizens' lives?