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Lesson Plans

  • AIDS Activism: Then and Now

    Grade Level 10 - 12 | Subject - history and social studies
    Large group of people, all holding one arm up, underneath white text that reads “Fight the fear with the facts, Call 1(800) 922-AIDS.”

    This lesson plan examines activism in America through the lens of the AIDS awareness activities of ACT UP. Students examine visual and written exhibition materials from the “Fight Back, Fight AIDS” exhibition section, in order to understand various issues for which AIDS activists fought. Students explore strategies used by ACT UP in several protests and slogans, and discuss why they think these strategies were used. Afterwards, they students look at the strategies used by online campaign, Greater Than AIDS, paying special attention to the use of technology and social media. Students build on their analyses of the AIDS activism in the past and present, and create Community Action Proposals for causes that they view as important to raise awareness of in their community.


    Grade Level 10 - 12 | Subject - health education, history and social studies
    Poster “Some people think you can catch AIDS from a glass.”

    The lesson consists of two classes during which students use primary and secondary source materials that are available online. Students first encounter the term “disease stigma” through a blog post. Then consider the concept of stigma in the context of a health issue. Students examine several HIV/AIDS public health posters from the 1980s and 1990s, as well as audio transcript of Jonathan Mann’s speech about the World Health Organization’s special program on AIDS at the UN General assembly in 1987. Students consider the importance of dispelling stigma of an infectious disease as an integral part of educating public about how to prevent infections. The lesson plan has been developed in collaboration with Julie L Peters, Associate Director of Teaching of History Program and Clinical Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.