Description: Students learn about the 1964 rubella epidemic in the United States through the Rashes to Research online exhibitions. They closely examine three primary sources featured in the exhibition in exploring how the epidemic impacted different groups of people.
In class 1, students use the online exhibition Rashes to Research: Scientists and Parents Confront the 1964 Rubella Epidemic and work in groups to consider how different groups experienced the 1964 rubella epidemic. In class 2, students apply their knowledge of the 1964 rubella epidemic to identify and research other illnesses like rubella using reliable online health information resources, such as MedlinePlus and ClincialTrials.gov. For their selected health topics, students work in groups to produce informational posters for various groups in the school community.
At the end of this lesson plan, students will be able to:
- Describe the various concerns, solutions, and experiences of different groups of people during the 1964 rubella epidemic
- Examine primary and secondary sources in a variety of formats
- Identify and use reliable online health information
- Apply insights from a historical example to current events
Rashes to Research: Scientists and Parents Confront the 1964 Rubella Epidemic explores how the 1964 rubella epidemic unleased complicated social changes and scientific advances in the United States. This online exhibition features items from popular culture and scientific research that reflect the challenges raised by rubella and how American parents and scientists responded to the crisis. Teachers are encouraged to preview the exhibition website and become familiar with the online exhibition as well as MedlinePlus and ClinicalTrials.gov websites used in the lesson’s activities.
The following words may be introduced/incorporated into the lessons. If additional guidance and current definitions are needed for the terms listed below, teachers may find them in the websites included in this lesson plan.
- disabilities, consent to the testing, congenital birth defects, congenital rubella syndrome, wrongful birth case, virus, vaccination/immunization, cognitive disability, cardiac, cataracts
- Primary Source Analysis (PDF, MSWord); Teacher’s Primary Source Analysis (PDF)
- Group Discussion Guide (PDF, MSWord)
- A display set-up for class, such as an interactive whiteboard, a projector, or a board to display images, play video clips from the web, and to record summaries or findings from class discussions.
- Index cards or sticky notes for exit ticket write-ups
- Blank paper/poster paper and markers, colored pencils, or a computer with software for designing a poster
- Online access to the following websites:
Preparation: For homework, have students view the Rashes to Research online exhibition and come to class prepared to discuss its content. Before class, arrange desks into three groups and label each as Researchers, Families, or Public health officials. As students arrive, assign them seats to form three groups as per the posted labels.
- Display the Rashes to Research website. Ask students to recall the symptoms of rubella based on what they learned from the online exhibition. Correct or confirm students’ responses using the summary health information on rubella in MedlinePlus.
- Ask students to call out any items—primary source documents, objects, or photographs—in the exhibition that they found interesting. Display the items that students call out and have them explain why these items resonated with them.
- Summarize the class discussion by noting that the primary source items in Rashes to Research not only tell the story of 1964 rubella epidemic in the United States, but also represent perspectives and experiences of different groups of people who faced the epidemic. Tell students that they will explore experiences of rubella by examining three exhibition items related to researchers, families, and public health efforts.
- Hand out copies of Primary Source Analysis to all students, and provide online access or printouts of the following exhibition items to their corresponding groups:
- Researchers Group: Dr. Meyer drawing blood from a child and Dr. Parkman examining a child’s ear as part of the rubella vaccine trial at the Children’s Colony of Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas, 1966
- Families Group: Portrait of Dortha Jacobs Biggs holding her daughter, Lesli, ca. 1975
- Public health officials Group: Today’s Little People Protect Tomorrow’s Little People" Rubella vaccination day poster, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, May 17, 1970
- Allow students to work in groups to discuss and note responses to the questions on the Primary Source Analysis handout. See Teacher's Primary Source Analysis for providing any guidance for this analysis activity. Afterwards, call together the class then have students “jigsaw” into new groups of three students—one from each of the three Researcher, Family and Public health official groups.
- Hand out copies of Group Discussion Guide to students. Read aloud the instruction on the top of the handout and clarify any questions. Allow the new jigsaw groups to work. Meanwhile, listen-in on group discussions and provide guidance or clarifications as needed.
- Bring the class back together. Ask two to three volunteers to summarize their group discussion. As volunteers share, record any key themes on the board. Review the key themes on the board and help students think about how rubella had different impact and challenges to solve among different groups, such as researchers, families, and public health officials.
- Write on the board the two prompts below. Distribute index cards for students to write and hand in their completed promotes:
- One of many challenges of rubella for _________was_________.
- Another condition like rubella was/is __________.
- Class 1 evaluation: Teachers evaluate students’ reading comprehension, visual literacy, and process skills, such as analysis of facts verses opinions, during class discussions and students’ group activities. The exit tickets provide evidence of students’ understanding of the 1964 rubella epidemic and applying their knowledge to other similar health challenges in the past and present.
Preparation: Select and list on the board three to five examples of two completed prompts from the exit tickets collected at the end of Class 1. Also, set up for student to access the Internet, including MedlinePlus and Clinical Trials websites.
- Review with students three to five examples of two completed prompts from Class 1:
- One of many challenges of rubella for _________was_________.
- Another condition like rubella was/is __________.
- Display Rashes to Research then tell students that this online exhibition offered them insights into different experiences and perspectives of rubella among researchers, families, and public health officials in the past. Then let students know that those insights will guide their research into these other health conditions in this class.
- Tell students that the exhibition producer, U.S. National Library of Medicine, also provides online health and research information such as MedlinePlus and ClinicalTrials.gov. Use the rubella health topic page in MedlinePlus to introduce and review “On this page” box on the page to call out various types of information and links to other reliable health information and research resources.
- Put four students in a group and assign each group one of the conditions named on the example exit tickets. Provide students with access to the Internet including MedlinePlus and Clinical Trials websites.
- Have the groups research and prepare an informational poster about their assigned health topic. Ask groups to address the following elements in their posters:
- How does (your assigned health condition) impact our school community?
- How does this condition pose the same or different challenges between different groups—researchers, youth, adults, etc.?
- What does the poster need to communicate about the condition at the school?
- What information about the condition do different groups in school want to know?
- How best can the poster get students’, teachers’ and parents’ attention?
- Allow groups to research and design their posters. Prior to ending the class, have the groups hang their posters then walk around to view posters by other groups. Call on three students to share one thing they found informative on another group’s poster.
- Assign the homework for students to work in their groups to revise and finish their posters to be displayed around the school the following week.
- Class 2 Evaluation: Teachers listen-in on student conversations during their group work, and guide or re-direct their thinking as needed. Group research and posters provide opportunities to assess how students select and use reliable online health information resources in promoting good health information among various groups in the school community.
- Students first read online, “Oral History: Defined,” from the Oral History Association (http://www.oralhistory.org/about/do-oral-history/) and learn about oral history. Afterwards, they access online oral history source for Dr. Paul Parkman, one of the researchers who developed a better blood test and a vaccine for rubella. Students read the entirety of Dr. Paul Parkman’s oral history (60 pages) and report on both Dr. Parkman’s life and the value of lengthy oral histories. Student reports could take the form of a written report, slide presentation, short film, or some other format. The complete interview is available online as a PDF from the Office of History’s Oral History Archives at the National Institutes of Health.
- Students refer “Evaluating Health Information in MedlinePlus” to learn about how to identify trustful source of information online. Afterwards, students create a reference guide for their family members to assess whether a health information website is reliable and trustful.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.9: Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in serval primary and secondary sources.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3: Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2.B: Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2.B: Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9: Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.