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Disease and Epidemics - Social Studies Lessons
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Diseases & Epidemics IconIn the social studies lessons of the "Diseases and Epidemics" unit, students will explore how the study of diseases, epidemics and disease management promotes our understanding of human culture and history. These lessons are designed to begin after the science lessons, which prepare students for a basic understanding of the infectious process.

The roles of agriculture, trade and living in cities in promoting the spread of disease during the 14th century and today will be examined. Issues addressed are global exploration and movement across land and sea and their effect on human populations. Diseases are now global and influence the future course of land possession. Dealing with disease thru innovative technology and science are important to the health future of the human population. Finally, the role of historical public health campaigns and the quest to change human behavior in an effort to combat newly understood diseases will be addressed. Students will explore five big ideas in this unit and be able to answer the following questions that address those big ideas

  1. When do diseases become epidemic?
  2. What helps a disease move successfully?
  3. What role does exploration or trade have in spreading disease?
  4. Did technology, including medical technology, stop epidemics?
  5. Can public health messages effectively inspire people to change health habits?

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
When Diseases become Epidemic! Defining disease, epidemic, and its relationships with humans.
Essential Question
When do diseases become epidemic?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
When Diseases become Epidemic!
During this activity students are introduced to the quarter theme, disease. Through questioning and classroom discussion, students identify disease as a crucial dictator of history.
Participate in oral discussion to be able to define epidemic and identify 3 instances in history in which epidemics occurred.

Week 3
0.5 day

Explore
Reasons Diseases become Epidemic
In lesson 1 the class ended with the promise that two leading questions, 1) Why did this (epidemics) happen at this time in history? and 2) How did this (epidemics) happen? would be addressed in the lesson entitled “Reasons Diseases become Epidemic!
Identify reasons diseases become epidemic and list them in web format
Week 3
0.5 day
Explain
The Human and Animal Connection !
This lesson will introduce the idea of a connection between human diseases and the domestication of animals. The diagram used will have been introduced in the 2nd quarter so this is re-visited but with a different focus.
Infer the connection between humans, animals, and disease thru the interpretation of concept maps.
Week 3
1 day
Apply
Social, Political, and Economic Factors that affect Disease
During this lesson students make an association among the reasons for diseases explored in lesson 2 with social, political, and economic factors.
Predict social, political, and economic action to the ‘reasons’ diseases become epidemic.
Week 3
1 day

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Big Idea
Are you contagious? The role of agriculture, the city, and trade in the spread of disease during the 14th century and today.
Essential Question
What helps a disease move successfully?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
The Black Death Epidemic of the 14th Century
In this lesson the students will be exposed to the Black Death and its impact on England. They will fill out an Epidemic Disease matrix.
1. Answer questions pertaining to the Black Plague using two sets of reading materials

2. Compare research results from readings with a partner and create a joint interpretation of the Black Plague and why it appeared when it did.
Week 3
2 days
Explore/Explain
The Middle Ages In Europe
In this Explore/Explain lesson, students will investigate what life was like during the Middle Ages in Europe for the Nobles, Merchants, and Serfs.
1. Write an exploratory essay showing the relationship between the occurrences of the Black Plague during the Middle Ages using all of their compiled research materials.

2. Research the Middle Ages and fill in a matrix of relevant information to document their research
Week 4
4 days
Apply
Making Connections: Trade and disease today
In this Apply lesson, students will read an article on globalization in our lives. They will explore current disease threats and how they are spread today
1. Read an informed health text and locate and highlight specific information requested.

2. Through discussion, formulate ideas from questions about the connection between disease and globalization and document them in class notes.
Week 4
1 day

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Big Idea
The winner takes all! Exploration and global movement across land and sea and its effect on human populations. Diseases are now global and influence the future course of land possession.
Essential Question
What role does exploration or trade have in spreading disease?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Why Explore?
In this lesson, students will be challenged to start thinking about why humans explore. They will aim to make a solid connection between exploration and the quest for survival/goods.
1. Generate discussion by answering provocative “ponder” questions.

2. Create a list of reasons humans explore after reading an expository text.
Week 5
1.5 - 2 days
Explore
Why Trade? The Positive and Negative Effects of Trade
In this Explore lesson, students further dissect the issue of trade and trading. Students will explore what social, political, and economic factors constitute reasons for trade and which of these reasons can have positive versus negative consequences.
1. Compose notes using trade related terms.

2. Distinguish between negative and positive effects of trade through small group discussions.

3. Generate class list of negative and positive effects of trade with supporting materials.
Week 5
1.5 - 2 days
Explain
Where in the world did this come from?
In this Explain lesson, students will create artifact and information kits for a specific continent or region. They will be assigned a period in time to explain and address the area’s trade and trading technology and products.
1. Research a specific region and its trade history to develop information materials to share with other members of the class.

2. Creatively represent physical elements of their research using objects, art, drawings, images, and maps to more effectively communicate the diversity of their region or continent.

3. Successfully answer exploratory questions using their own kits for information.

4. Answer questions and provide explanations about their kits during a museum walk display.
Weeks 5 & 6
6 days
Apply
Devastating Diseases!
In this Apply lesson students are asked to consider the implications of disease as a result of extensive human contact.

1. Critically read literature addressing historical data and answer relevant questions.

2. Formulate an opinion and support it using all knowledge documented and learned in this lesson and the last 3 lessons.
Week 7
1 - 1.5 days

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Big Idea
Technology, Innovation, and Infection. Disease and Medicine: Dealing with disease thru innovative technology and science.
Essential Question
Did technology, including medical technology, stop epidemics?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Medical Misconceptions: What do you know?
In this engage lesson, students’ knowledge of some basic historical facts regarding medical science and hygiene will be tested.
Defend their answers to a pop quiz through discussion and then note how well their logic matches the facts.
Week 7
1 day
Explore
The Historical Medical Community: Contributions and Innovations
In this explore lesson students will investigate an historical figure or innovation that helped change our views of medicine and health. Each student will conduct research on one person or innovation and prepare a biography poster.
1. Create a biographical poster on a famous medical scientist or scientific innovation by conducting library and internet research.

2. Write a reflection piece on the efficacy of scientific experimentation techniques on human subjects using the biographical posters as a resource.
Weeks 7 & 8
5 days
Explain
It’s a Matter of Consent: Considering a Patient’s Rights
In this explain lesson, students will use their biographical research results to evaluate how a patient’s rights charter might be created.
1. Create a Patient’s Rights Charter after discussions of historical experimentation techniques using the biographical posters to stimulate discussion.

2. Critically review and rewrite the charter after comparing the class list to the informed consent notes published by the National Cancer Institute.
Week 8
2 days
Apply
Medical Research and your Future
In this apply lesson, students are asked to investigate current and sometimes controversial medical research in order to address what medical breakthroughs potentially exist in their futures.
1. Create small posters on 8 _ by 11 sheets detailing their support or rejection of a new medical research study that they will have investigated through internet and newspaper article research.

2. Orally present their research stance in 1 minute increments while displaying their posters.
Weeks 8 & 9
2 days
Project
Timeline of Medical Innovations and Breakthroughs
In this activity, students will compile information on a variety of innovations/inventions in order to create a timeline.
Identify on a timeline and a world map where medical innovations/inventions originated after collecting information on various medical innovations/inventions using encyclopedias and medical research texts.
Week 9
2 days

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Big Idea
Historical public health campaigns: The quest to change human behavior in an effort to combat newly understood diseases.
Essential Question
Can public health messages effectively inspire people to change health habits?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
A Poster is Worth a Thousand Words
Historically, in the absence of TV and commercials, health officials in cities had to somehow communicate good health/hygiene practices to people in order to avoid the spread of disease.
List observations of PSA posters and provide evidence/examples of their observations through class discussion.
Week 9
1 day
Explore/Explain
Can Diseases be Prevented?
In the lesson following this Explore/Explain lesson, students are asked to create a Public Service Announcement.
Write a research paper on a disease based on their internet or library research.
Weeks 9 & 10
2 days
Apply
Let’s Put the Information in Infomercial: Designing a PSA
In today’s world, TV and commercials are commonplace. As such, health officials use Public Service Announcements to communicate good hygiene/health practices to the public.
1. Create a story board and dialogue for a PSA commercial applying what they have learned about disease prevention in previous lessons in Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts.

2. Act out their commercial using the dialogue they have developed as well as visual aides to illustrate their message.
Week 10
4 days
Extension
Vote on the best commercial per class and film it!  

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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