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Outbreak - A World Wide Health Crisis Lesson Idea

Album Description

A Student Challenge: Contribute to your school and community's understanding of a health crisis.

As the world confronts global health problems such as epidemics or pandemics, involve your students in an authentic lesson that looks at past primary sources to increase understanding of health related issues. Encourage students to use past and current information and digital tools to research, make informed decisions and contribute to their own and their community’s health information.

Start
Facilitate a class discussion to assess current student information and knowledge on the topic of an outbreak. Brainstorm guiding questions with students. Create a collaborative doc or wall sheet to add additional topics or questions.

Guiding questions might include:

  1. What do we need to know about this outbreak and other historic outbreaks or epidemics/pandemics of the past.
  2. How do we meet the challenge of obtaining factual and objective information about this outbreak?
  3. What solutions can we put in place to help our school or community understand and deal with this health issue?

Student research teams might choose to find information in the following areas:

  1. 1. Historic outbreaks and outcomes (history)
  2. Government watchdog - how are governments reacting world wide (government)
  3. News media reports and facts vs. rumors and misinformation (language, current events)
  4. Statistics tracking and mapping (mathematics, geography)
  5. Cultural differences and world reaction (sociology, psychology, world language)
  6. Scientific and medical knowledge (science)

In collaborative groups, students research and collect primary source artifacts and current data. Encourage students to include a variety of media in their research and activities including video, interviews, podcasts, graphics and images, and documents.

Some tasks for students to tackle:

  • Research historic outbreaks or epidemics, pandemics or other diseases and create a timeline of those events.
  • Collect primary source artifacts on historic outbreaks or pandemics
  • Collect oral histories by creating podcasts of people who experienced those outbreaks.
  • Analyze how the current outbreak is similar/different than those of the past.
  • Research how world, national, state and local organizations are dealing with an outbreak.
  • Follow government social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to analyze government communications on the outbreak.
  • Interview and podcast local government official views on combating the situation.
  • Research video sites, such as YouTube, to find and analyze national or world government official communications.
  • Use Lateral Reading of web sites to determine if information is verifiable.
  • Analyze the "panic factor". Which news organizations or blogs are contributing to misinformation or panic about the issue?
  • Research and analyze charts and map statistical data on an outbreak.
  • Use collaborative spreadsheets to collect and compare statistics.
  • View map sites to analyze statistics. Compare and contrast statistical information such as standard flu outbreak. Present information in graph or map form.
  • Analyze cultures and health related statistics in specific countries.
  • Interview and podcast or video local physicians, school nurses and other local authorities on disease spread and science.
  • Access local radio and video science programming specific to the disease for up-to-date scientific information.
  • Look at the economic implications of the Pandemics

Real World Application

Students outline a plan for explaining the history and science of pandemics/epidemics and produce a podcast, video, informational guide, poster to communicate their findings. Students may want to:

  • Create posters (Similar or mix of the WPA heath related posters)
  • Produce a readiness Podcast
  • Create a public service video
  • Create an infographic
  • Create animated memes, posters or gifs.

Next, the class or participating students investigate ways their school and community is preparing for an emergency health situation. Students contact school officials and help with the planning, using their research and posted media as authentic information resources that can be applied to their locale. Students plan and produce school or community communications informing and supporting their school community education initiatives on health related issues. 

Some Library of Congress, National Archives and CDC primary source material is included in this album. Please add more.


  Pandemic   Spanish Flu 
  Epidemic   Health   Flu 
  9 - 12   Social Studies/History 

“Uncle Sam’s Advice on Flu”

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America -

Nassau County leader. [volume], October 18, 1918, Image 1
About Nassau County leader. [volume] (Fernandina, Fla.) 1925-19??

“The Spanish Influenza , Three Day Fever and the Flu”

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America - 

The Coconino sun., October 11, 1918, Image 1
About The Coconino sun. (Flagstaff, Ariz.) 1898-1978

'Except from National Archives Motion Picture Newsreel Films Used for a Documentary Series on World War I, ca. 1908 - ca. 1930'

Teaching Notes

Excerpt from the National Archives - https://catalog.archives.gov/id/89352

Phipps Institute Identifies Germ of Spanish Grip

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America.

Evening public ledger. [volume], September 20, 1918,
About Evening public ledger. [volume] (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942

Influenza Claims Victim in Capital, Plague in Chicago, Quarantine at Camp

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America

  • Influenza Claims Victim in Capital
  • Plague in Chicago
  • Quarantine at Camp

The Washington times. [volume], September 21, 1918, FINAL EDITION, Image 1
About The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939

Reference note

The Washington times. [volume], September 21, 1918, FINAL EDITION, Image 1
About The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939

Influenza Will Spread West, Is Belief

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America

El Paso herald., September 27, 1918, HOME EDITION, Image 1
About El Paso herald. (El Paso, Tex.) 1901-1931

Text Transcribed:


WASHINGTON, D. O. Sept. 27.
Spanish influenza, sweeping through all but 1 of the army camps and apparently beyond control in many eastern communities, has caused a tremendous increase In the death rate of the army at home. For the week ending September 20. the surgeon general's office reported today, the death rate was 4.4 per cent, compared
with 23 per cent the preceding week.


This Increase was attributed in large measures to influenza, but the report pointed out that the figures do not show the seriousness of the situation as since last Friday there has been a farther rapid spread of the epidemic with many deaths.


The surgeon general's office said the epidemic may be expected to sweep westward with a still greater Increase In mortality In the next few weeks.' Orders issued last night by provost marshal general Crowder cancelling calls for entrapment of 142,00 draft registrants between October 7 and 11 were due to the serious conditions in many camps and were said by health officials to be absolutely necessary at this time.

Boston Needs 500 Doctors.
Boston. Maas.. Sept. 27.

Health authorities in Massachusetts, who have been battling unceasingly to check the spread of Influenza, were today hoping for the arrival of physicians... Dr. Eugene R. Kelley. state health commissioner, estimated that 5 so physicians and 1000 nurses were needed. Traveling expenses and salary will be paid all who respond.

Public Meetings Banned.
Beginning today, all public meetings in this city were to be prohibited, as far as practicable by the emergency health commission. It bas left optional with the churches as to whether services should be held next Sunday...

Influenza In Denver.
Denver. Colo, Sept. 17. The first case of Spanish Influenza reported in Denver became known today with the death of Miss Blanche Kennedy, of Chicago. She came here last Saturday to visit a brother. No other cases have been reported to the health
authorities.

Reference note

El Paso herald., September 27, 1918, HOME EDITION, Image 1
About El Paso herald. (El Paso, Tex.) 1901-1931

Medical Sciences Newest Discoveries about "Spanish Influenza"

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America

The Washington times. [volume], October 06, 1918, NATIONAL EDITION, The American Weekly Section, Image 22
About The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939

Reference note

The Washington times. [volume], October 06, 1918, NATIONAL EDITION, The American Weekly Section, Image 22
About The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939

Facts About "Spanish Influenza" and How to Protect Yourself Against It

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America

"Facts About Spanish Influenza and How to Protect Yourself Against It"

The Washington times. [volume], October 06, 1918, NATIONAL EDITION, The American Weekly Section, Image 22
About The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939

Text Transcribed:

Facts About "Spanish Influenza and How to Protect Yourself Against It"

THE disease begins two or three days after infection with fever, heavy sneezing, headache, aching bones and general pains. All colds with high fever should be put to bed and the doctor called. Infection is mostly caused by reckless sneezing, coughing and spitting. Avoid these practices and those who have them.

To guard against infection, keep the mouth and nose clean with a mild anti septic wash (see accompanying article). Medical treatment consists of rest, abundant food, aperients, and quinine, with Dover powders to stop pain.

The disease started in the German trenches, passed to Spain and then spread over the civilized world. That the influenza germs have been secretly scattered in this country by German U-boats is a charge difficult to prove, but their gas attacks on crows of our light ships and lighthouses furnish character evidence against them.

It Is scientifically demonstrated that the germs Increase in virulence with the number of persons they pass throngh, until finally tho system acquires immunity against them through infection. Treatment for the disease is simple. Surgeon-General Blue, of the Public Health Service, summarizes it as follows: "Rest In bed, fresh air, abundant food, free action of intestines, with Dover's powder for tho relief of pain. Every case
with fever should ho regarded as serious and kept in bed."

In order to guard against Infection It Is necessary to keep the mouth and nose clean and healthy by means of some mild antiseptic and to treat all colds promptly. A wash composed of one teaspoonful boric acid, one teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
and one teaspoonful of common salt will...

Canadian army doctors have found that Spanish influenza is caused by a new, hitherto unrecognized bacillus, quite different from that of the old. Pneumonia may occur as a complication, unless" careful treatment with rest in bed be given.

Medical measures already taken will make it impossible for the Spanish in fluenza to become a serious menace to the health of the army. An accusation that the disease has been intentionally disseminated by German U-boats is being investigated by
medical authorities. The first identified case reached the United States in a Norwegian ship on August 31...

The disease is spread by "droplet infection," that is, by little drops swarming with germs scattered by infected persons who sneeze, spit and cough In public places. One sneeze in a street car may Infect a whole city. It is therefore very comforting to know
that Health Commissioner Copeland, ot New York, has called a meeting of theatrical managers and others with a view to enforcing tho laws against spitting in public.
Kissing is another prolific method of Infection, and this practice should be stopped
except In cases where it is absolutely In dispensable to happiness. Kissing between
members ot the gentle sex can certainly be abolished without hardship.

Army doctors have found the "gauze face mask" very useful In preventing infection.
This is made with three or four layers of gauze In the shape of a rectangle Ave by
seven Inches, covering the mouth and nose and secured by a band over the ears
and round the back of the head.

Diagram of the Mechanism of the Sneeze
Showing the Course of the Muscular Spasm Which Spreads "Droplet Infection."


When an irritating substance enters the nostrils it lodges in the Schneiderian
Membrane and irritates the nasal nerve

  • (A), the sensation follow the Fifth Nerve
  • (B) to Meckel's Ganglion
  • (C), whence it reaches the sympathetic nerve system
  • (D). It passes along D and is carried by the Phrenic Nerve
  • (E), controlling
  • (F) the diaphragm. Under the irritant nerve impulse there, is a spasm of the diaphragm which forces a violent expiration of air from the lungs
  • (G), up through the Trachea
    (H), out of the mouth and nose
  • (I),producing what we call the sneeze.

The mask Is employed in the army camps as follows:
1. It Is worn by all patients unless isolated.
2. It is worn by all doctors and other persons coming in contact with patients

Reference note

The Washington times. [volume], October 06, 1918, NATIONAL EDITION, The American Weekly Section, Image 22
About The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939

Demonstration at the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington, D.C., during the influenza pandemic of 1918

Teaching Notes

Topic - Preparation

Reference note

Summary: Two Red Cross nurses with person on stretcher.
Created / Published: 1918.
Subject Headings: -  Influenza--Washington (D.C.)--1910-1920
-  Nurses--Washington (D.C.)--1910-1920
Notes: -  Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: cph 3c26995 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c26995

Demonstration at the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington, D.C., during the influenza pandemic of 1918

Teaching Notes

Topic - Preparation

Reference note

Created / Published: 1918.
Subject Headings: -  American National Red Cross
-  Health care personnel
-  Litters
-  Influenza
-  United States.--District of Columbia--Washington (D.C.)
Genre: Glass negatives
Photographic prints
Notes: -  Title from caption on original print.
-  Caption on neg.: Red Cross demonstration, 1918.
-  Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947.
-  General information about the National Photo Company collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.npco
-  This glass negative might show streaks and other blemishes resulting from a natural deterioration in the original coatings.
-  Temp. note: Batch four.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: npcc 18662 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.18662
cph 3c38117 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c38117

Demonstration at the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington, D.C., during the influenza pandemic of 1918

Teaching Notes

Topic - Preparation

Reference note

Created / Published: 1918.
Subject Headings: -  American National Red Cross
-  Health care personnel
-  Influenza
-  Litters
-  Ambulances
-  United States. --District of Columbia --Washington (D.C.)
Genre: Glass negatives
Photographic prints
Notes: -  Title from caption on original print.
-  Caption on neg.: Red Cross demonstration, 1918.
-  Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947.
-  General information about the National Photo Company collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.npco
-  This glass negative might show streaks and other blemishes resulting from a natural deterioration in the original coatings.
-  Temp. note: Batch four.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: npcc 18661 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.18661
cph 3c38118 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c38118

Influenza Epidemic of 1918 (Spanish Flu): Topics in Chronicling America

Teaching Notes

Research Guide - Chronicling America

Influenza Epidemic of 1918 (Spanish Flu): Topics in Chronicling America Search Strategies & Selected Articles

Teaching Notes

Listing of selected articles from Chronicling America

Detail from Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

Teaching Notes

Student project idea - create a comic book or graphic novel of outbreak preparation information.  Students can use Pages or ePub creation tools.

Walter Reed Hospital Flu Ward

Teaching Notes

Topic - Control and wellness efforts

Reference note

Contributor Names: Harris & Ewing, photographer
Created / Published: [between 1910 and 1920]
Subject Headings: -  United States--District of Columbia--Washington (D.C.)
Genre: Glass negatives
Notes: -  Title from negative or negative sleeve.
-  Date based on date of negatives in same range.
-  Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955.
-  General information about the Harris & Ewing Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.hec
-  Temp. note: Batch three.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: hec 14088 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.14088

"Influenza and the Mask"

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America

Reference note

 The Logan Republican (Logan, UT), December 21, 1918, Page 1, Image 1, col. 3.

"Quarantine is Lifted"

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America

Reference note

Chronicling - Pullman Herald (Pullman, WA), November 15, 1918, Page 1, Image 1, col 3

"Spanish Influenza"

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America

Reference note

The Coronavirus, Primary Sources, and a Personal Story

Teaching Notes

TPS Teaching with Primary Sources post from   Mary Johnson  

“Influenza Still Holds Sway Here”

Teaching Notes

Chronicling America - 

The evening herald., November 07, 1918, Image 1
About The evening herald. (Klamath Falls, Or.) 1906-1942

'Learn & Create with Primary Sources - Wash Hands'

Teaching Notes

Example of how students can animate a primary source poster from the Library of Congress to reapply its message for today.  

Animation was created in Keynote iOS from original. https://www.loc.gov/item/98516190/

Keep Clean

'Learning & Creating with Primary Sources - Health'

Teaching Notes

Example of how students can animate a primary source poster from the Library of Congress to reapply its message for today.

Animation was created in Keynote iOS from original.

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015647897/

LOC Poster

Precautions taken in Seattle, Wash., during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic would not permit anyone to ride on the street cars without wearing a mask. 260,000 of these were made by the Seattle Chapter of the Red Cross which consisted of 120 workers, in three days

Reference note

Created / Published: [ca. 1918 or 1919]
Subject Headings: -  American Red Cross
-  United States--Washington (State)--Seattle
Genre: Glass negatives
Notes: -  Title and notes from Red Cross caption card.
-  Group title: Disaster Relief
-  Date based on date of negatives in same range.
-  Gift; American National Red Cross 1944 and 1952.
-  General information about the American National Red Cross photograph collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.anrc
-  Temp note: Batch 6
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: anrc 02654 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/anrc.02654

CAMPUS NEWS Social distancing. School closures. How a pandemic flu changed Buffalo in 1918

Teaching Notes

Doctors wear protective gear while treating patients during the 1918 flu pandemic. Photo: Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

Philadelphia Threw a WWI Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers the Flu

Teaching Notes

An aircraft hull travels the parade route in Philadelphia (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph)

Evening public ledger. [volume] (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 03 Oct. 1918

Teaching Notes

Locate additional articles here: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045211/issues/first_pages/67/

The Redwood gazette. [volume], October 16, 1918, Image 10

Teaching Notes

Challenge at-home students to follow the directions for making a mask in 1918 based on the Wear a Mask article in this newspaper. 

Compare the 1918 instructions with mask-making instructions flooding social media today. 

     

Thanks to @TeachingLC for this primary source!

  masks    Personal Protective Equipment  

Reference note

Newspaper: The Redwood gazette. [volume] (Redwood Falls, Minn.) 1873-1940
Newspaper Link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025570/1918-10-16/ed-1/seq-10
Image provided by: Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN
PDF Link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025570/1918-10-16/ed-1/seq-10.pdf

Stories from the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic from Ethnographic Collections

Teaching Notes

Students read or listen to personal stories from this American Folklife Center blog post.

Students can also explore the links at the bottom and try the suggested search strategies to discover more stories.

Some of the accounts might lend themselves to Readers Theater performances.

A number of posts in the TPS Teachers Network suggest ways for students today to record their experiences during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This would be an excellent follow-up to the blog post transcripts and recordings.

  personal stories    oral history  

Anti-mask league meeting

Teaching Notes

During the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, just as today, there was resistance to orders requiring that masks be worn as a public health safety measure. This San Francisco item reports "thirty-three arrests" made for "violation of the masking ordinance." It also references an anti-mask league meeting. 

Here's a current and related article from Mental Floss titled "At the Height of the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the Anti-Mask League of San Francisco Formed to Protest PPE."

Psychology and sociology classes might use these sources to examine individual and group reactions to public health crises and also to government oversight. Compare and contrast primary source activities seem a natural fit, too.  

  Anti-mask league    San Francisco  

“The Great Influenza” — Library Resources on the 1918 to 1919 Pandemic

Teaching Notes

Use Chronicling America and Library of Congress resources to learn about the 1918 Pandemic

Chinese Plague 1911

Teaching Notes

This 1911 newspaper article will help answer this album's first guiding question about pandemics and plagues throughout history. It has amazing parallels to the coronavirus today.

The last paragraph is especially relevant, as it discusses whether or not Europe can "prevent it becoming a scourge" by taking every precaution to keep it from coming "overland by way of Russia."

How has globalization changed the way nations deal with pandemics? How is the COVID-19 pandemic different from the "Chinese plague" - in its global reach, the history of protective masks, its lethality, public panic, and so on? 

By the way, if you look up Manchurian plague in loc.gov, you'll find lots more newspaper articles about this historic event. 

With thanks to   Keith Patterson  for telling me about this piece of history, which was entirely new to me. He also recommended this episode of the 99 Percent Invisible podcast with particularly gruesome photos of frozen corpses! 

  Chinese plague    Manchurian plague    globalization    PPE