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Ring around the rosies
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down!
Folklore has forever connected this nursery rhyme with the Black Plague. While many scholars debate whether or not this rhyme actually applies to the Black Plague, one of the lines is certainly a reference to a prevailing form of medical treatment. In the early days of disease scientists and public alike believed that disease was carried by miasma (terrible smell). Consequently, it made sense that carrying posies to ward off the smell would protect you from disease.
Now, several centuries removed from those beliefs, we can look back at those medical practices and laugh. Fact of the matter is, though, that they were doing the very best they could with the knowledge they had. The history of epidemic treatment is rife with crazy remedies, tools, and supposed cures. This project is an exploration of those early days of medicine.
Thus begins this unit. Last spring I designed a course titled Disease and Society. The aim of the course is a holistic understanding of Public Health issues. This unit is an exploration of methods used to cope with epidemics before modern medicine. Students will explore Bubonic Plague, Leprosy, and Small Pox with the intent of fully understanding the diseases and their impacts on the body and society as a whole.
This unit could be used for a course in world history, biology, epidemiology, public health, maybe even a literature course. Really its uses are only limited by your imagination.
- Pedagogy: Project Based Learning (PBL)
- Driving Question: How were epidemics handled before modern medicine?
- Student Create: Museum displays of a doctor's tool kit from the time period with audio podcast explaining their display.
- Students learn to create a podcast during the unit
- Student products may be viewed using the following link:
- Unit Plan with vocabulary list
- Daily lesson plan
- Daily .ppt slides for class
- Project documents for students (.docx and .pdf)
- Project grading rubric
- Links to needed resources
- Daily student puzzle warmup