The students will have several opportunities to use nonfiction, fiction, and internet resources to conduct their research on the three main topics surrounding the book. The books that I chose for the students to look at include
Chronology of the 20th-Century America
Decades of the 1900s, Our Century: 1900-1910,
America in the 1900s and 1910s
. All these books look at a timeline of events that highlighted the time era. They are in chronological order, and present facts and photographs about what people did in their daily lives, the roles of men and women, various wars other than the Spanish American war, and of course, entertainment like sports, music, and art of the decade. In addition, key individuals are highlighted like Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. I will use excerpts from these books to pinpoint, or highlight the daily lives of people. There are also statistics that the students would be impressed by or prompted to ask questions about like the cost of theatre tickets in the 1900s, or the number of people who went to elementary, middle, or high school. The journey that these books will offer to the students through photographs proves to be a snapshot of a time when life was both extraordinary and ordinary.
The next set of books that I plan on using will be books about Cuba and the Panama Canal. I am only naming two books to begin, but as the unit progresses, more books will be added to the study of these areas. The books that will be used are
Cuba in Pictures
Cuba: Enchantment of the World.
Both books discuss the The Second War of Independence, the geography of Cuba, its landforms, and the historical significance of Cuba. When reading
The Secret of the Yellow Death,
the students asked how far away Cuba was from the United States, so this book provides maps to show location, distance, and elevation so that the students can have a better idea of where it is on the map. The books also provide cultural life, economic and a timeline of events. The Panama Canal book provides students with information about how the construction of the canal was halted due to the outbreak of Yellow Fever; a cause and effect relationship which the students need to know about in order to understand the origins of the disease.
Other books include
Epidemics and Plagues
Deadly Diseases and Epidemics: Yellow Fever
. These books highlight bacteria, germs, viruses, and current strands of new viruses that are appearing all over the United States and different parts of the world. It is helpful to understand the circumstances that brought about these diseases. Perhaps, students can make comparisons of past viruses to present viruses and their search on diseases.
The Plugged In materials lend themselves to other resources like articles on medicine and technology from the past to the present, and the comparisons of labs from the early 1900s to today’s modern labs filled with state-of-the-art equipment that allows scientists to work more effectively. I think it would be interesting for the students to look at other diseases like Malaria and Dengue Fever, and compare them to Yellow Fever. The Plugged In materials offer students a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast diseases, and also provide them with the Center for Disease Control website for research on these diseases. The Plugged In materials also provide poetry that highlights the effects of this disease on the people, like the poem called
that highlight the lives taken and the curse people thought it had on them in the 1800-1900’s.
The materials that are provided do not touch upon the lives of women and family, so I intend on using articles about women in the 1900’s to showcase their daily lives, dress, and obligation to their families.
It is hoped that through all of these resources for the unit, that the students can generate higher order questions to begin exploration of the topics at hand. Higher order thinking is an important skill that the students should possess as it is a skill that is emphasized in the Common Core State Assessments. The endless resources that can be used for this unit, then present the trouble of choosing which articles, photographs, videos, and books to direct the main focus on. I want students to be able to use most of these resources, but I do not want them to be overwhelmed. The students can pick and choose which materials they would like to use.
Videos and photographs are also great resources to use in addition to the literature. The video,
The Deadly Fever: Documentary of America’s Yellow Fever Disaster
touches upon historical facts and pictures about the disease, and shows the students what medical technology and research was like and what patients of the disease had to go through. Other resources include, but are not limited to, newspaper clippings that chronicle the people’s views and letters of the victims.
Even though the resources are plentiful, the unit will take the entire third marking period to complete because of the writing tasks that will be worked on and the performance task.