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Disease and Epidemics - Language Arts Lessons
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Diseases & Epdemics IconIn the language arts lessons of the "Diseases and Epidemics" unit, students will explore how disease and epidemics have the potential to shape communities and so impact the culture and specifically the literature of the time. Students will investigate how trade routes accelerated the movement of goods, people, ideas, culture, and consequently, disease. They will read how literature has chronicled the human experience of disease. They will study how choice of words and use of language can significantly impact the effectiveness of health communication. These lessons are designed to begin after the science lessons, which prepare students for a basic understanding of the infectious process. Students will explore four big ideas in this unit and be able to answer the following questions that address those big ideas:

Each big idea is addressed by a learning cycle. At the completion of each big idea’s learning cycle students should be able to answer the corresponding question. At the end of the unit, the students will be able to apply their new scientific understanding to the Major Project where they provide a public service message that is checked in advance by local public health officials for accuracy.
Big Idea
Disease and epidemics have the potential to shape communities and so impact the culture and specifically the literature of the time.
Driving Question
How has the experience of living with a disease or within a community threatened by a disease shaped the emotional/spiritual and artistic /literary life of the people involved?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
What Has Happened Here?

Students will read a passage from Geraldine Brooks’s novel Year of Wonders in which the devastating effects of the plague on an English village are described.

Read and generate clarifying questions so that they can decipher the underlying cause of a community’s state as described in Geraldine Brooks’s novel ‘A Year of Wonder’.

Week 3
1 day

Explore
"Ode to a Nightingale"

Students will read and analyze this poem to see what poetic devices Keats employs to help him deal with the looming specter of death at an early age from tuberculosis.

1. Analyze the author’s use of figurative language, including simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, symbolism, allusion, and imagery in a literary selection.

2. Compare (and contrast) the illustration of the same theme in two different literary genres, using their structural features as the basis for comparison.

Week 3
1-2 days

Explain
Day by Day

Students will read selected passages from the diary of Samuel Pepys who lived in London in the 1660’s during the bubonic plague’s devastation.

1. Determine how the meaning of the text is affected by the writer’s word choice.

2. Connect information and events in text to experience and to related text and sources.

Week 3
1-2 days

Apply
Today’s Epidemic

In this lesson they will examine the pandemic of our time and read poetry written by some of the youngest victims of this scourge.
Identify how an author’s choice of words and imagery sets the tone and advances the work’s theme.

Weeks 3 & 4
2 days

--Top--

Big Idea
Trade routes accelerated the movement of goods, people, ideas, culture, and consequently, disease.
Driving Question
How extensive was trade in the Middle Ages and therefore, how significantly in both positive (access to goods) and negatively (exposure to disease) did it affect the lives of people all over Europe, Asia, and Africa?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week

Engage

The Importance of Trade

A look at where the items of everyday life come from and how they get to us

Students will look at the clothing, food, furniture, luxury items, and vehicles which they use and discover where these items originated and how they were shipped

Week 4
2 days

Explore
Tracing the Shared Path of Disease and Trade in the Medieval World

What was traded in the Medieval world, who received it, and by which route

Using multiple sources of visual and written information students will trace the path goods took in transit and diseases took in transversing the globe

Week 4
3 days

Explain
Not Just One Vector

What goods and which diseases wealthy families in various cities had access to via the trade routes

Using multiple sources of visual and written information students will examine in greater depth the connections between and complexity of how diseases transversed the globe using the trade routes

Week 5
3 days
Students will use multiple visual and written sources of information to reconstruct the range of exotic goods and diseases a wealthy family in various locations would encounter in the Medieval world
Apply
Science Happens in a Social Context

How does a scientist view disease and how does a historian see its impact on society
Make connections between information learned about the nature of disease in science and history classes with an emphasis on how diseases spread
Week 5
2 days

--Top--

Big Idea
Disease has impacted every culture throughout history. While the fragility of human nature is universal, the response or impact on differing cultures may vary dramatically. This is reflected in literature that has chronicled the human experience of disease.
Driving Question
How is literature used to reflect upon the impact of disease?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Disease and Culture through Literary Time

Review the impact that disease has had on various cultures and times.

Read a piece of literature from a specific era, which addresses disease, and then identify pieces of information within the literature for examples of the impact of disease on culture and literature.

Week 6
1 day

Explore
Time to Read

Students will read the book of their choice noting significant information about the effects of a certain disease on the community described in the literature.

Identify how the literary elements of theme, point of view, characterization, setting, and plot illustrate the effects of a certain disease on a community.

Week 6
4 days

Explain
Literary Circles

Students will share with others in class the plot of their books and the ways in which the disease in the stories affected society in a variety of ways.

Connect information learned in history and science classes with the events described in the books that they read;
Make a clear and informative presentation to the class explaining how disease affected the community described in the books that were read.

Week 7
2-3 days

Apply
Book Review

Students will write a five paragraph theme that explains how the novel which they read in this unit effectively utilized various literary elements to portray the impact of a disease
Write a clear and informative paper explaining how disease affected the community described in the books that were read.
Week 7
2-3 days

--Top--

Big Idea
A crucial part of combating diseases today is communicating accurate information. Choice of words and use of language significantly impact how effective this communication is.
Driving Question
How does one construct a compelling public service message?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Reaching Your Audience

After viewing a public service message students will come up with a list of questions and criteria that will help them tailor a message to a specific population.

1. Analyze a public service message to determine if it communicates ideas effectively;

2. Determine the intended audience of a public service message.

Week 8
1 day

Explore
What Messages are Out There?
Students will analyze public service announcements to identify how a message can be communicated to an intended audience effectively. Word choice, key phrases, and imagery will be examined as vehicles of persuasion.

1. Analyze a public service message to determine if it persuasively communicates ideas;

2.
Identify words, phrases, and images that are key to delivering the message;

3. Determine the intended audience of a public service message.

Week 8
3 days

Explain
The Facts and the Figures

Students will gather information with which to create a public service message in science and social studies as the quarter’s final project.

1. Gather information on a focused topic dealing with a public health issue;

2. Accurately and thoroughly document where each piece of information was found.

Week 9
5 days

Apply
A Little Reminder to Take with You

Students will make a bookmark with information about a public health issue that will become part of a larger public health service message.
Use information already gathered on a specific public health issue to create a public service message in the form of a bookmark
Week 10
3 days

--Top--

 


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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