A Four-Week Lesson Plan
Grade Level: High School
“Spokane is in the grip of a modern plague. Unlike ancient days, there are no bonfires in the streets, no praying crowds of people in the churches, no burning of weird concoctions of spices and vinegar or sprinkling salt on flame.”
(Spokane Spokesman-Review, October 10, 1918, page 5)
The greatest plague of the twentieth century, the Spanish Flu, began its deadly course in 1918 during final months of World War I. Before the epidemic died out in 1919 it killed at least 20,000,000 people, more than died during all the battles of the Great War. In the United States alone more than a half million men, women, and children succumbed—ten times more Americans than died in the war. In Spokane, Washington, about one person in 200 died of the disease.
In this unit students follow the course of the epidemic from army camps, mainly on the East Coast of the United States, to the civilian population and across the country to Spokane and its environs. They will in the shoes of Spokane residents in 1918-19 through a series of learning activities and role-play. By studying documents and other sources they learn about this epidemic in particular and the importance of disease as an historical topic.
Enduring Understandings -- Content and Skills
Preparing to Teach this Unit
The materials for this unit consist of (1) an archive of teaching materials and (2) a sequence of lesson plans. The archive includes research materials, study guides, a bibliography, and a "cookbook" of teaching strategies and learning activities. The lesson plans provide suggestions for ways to use these materials in class. We suggest this approach to the materials:
Annotated Research Materials -- newspaper articles, diaries, letters, images, and secondary sources
Original Materials -- timeline, study guides, quizzes
Bibliography -- listing, with annotations, of other primary and secondary sources
Cookbook of Teaching Strategies and Learning Activities
The Lesson Plans