Before: The class should discuss the modern flu symptoms and remedies. Allow students to share a few experiences with the flu.
The teacher should tell the class that this lesson will center around how the flu that broke out a hundred years ago affected Alabamians in different ways.
The teacher should introduce the outbreak of Spanish influenza and how it spread to the United States (see background information about flu outbreak).
The teacher should display the graph (US Deaths 20th Century - Flu and War) that compares military deaths to those of the 1918 flu pandemic. The class should compare and contrast the number of casualties in WWI and the flu and discuss ideas about the differences in the death rates.
The teacher should introduce the students to Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, and discuss how it was used as a hospital for flu victims (see background information about Camp Sheridan's role during WWI).
The teacher should review the variety of primary documents that can provide information (photos, letters). Primary documents can provide varied information, depending on the types of documents. Photographs and letters often relate information from a personal perspective. Remind students that secondary sources include graphs and charts and information from books (Tuskegee nurses text). Newspaper articles can be considered both primary and secondary (they reflect information from the past but are written from a secondary point of view).
The teacher should review the directions for completing the primary source graphic organizers. Each graphic organizer asks for general information that will be common to every document and specific information that should be found within the different types of documents.
If students are unfamiliar with the document analysis graphic organizers, display the Camp Sheridan kitchen photograph and the discuss it with the class. Allow the students to list what they see in the photo while the observations are recorded on the board. Display the photograph graphic organizer (in attachments) with the document camera and complete the graphic organizer. The teacher should answer any questions that arise.
During: Assign students into groups of four students per group.
Give each group the primary and secondary sources (4 in all) and the graphic organizers (4 = 1 for photos, 3 for each of the written documents- newspaper, letter, and secondary source) that correspond to the sources (photos and written documents). If there is a student with reading weaknesses or a strong visual learner in the group, the photograph could be assigned to him/her. The student that works with the photograph should receive the photo analysis sheet. The students that receive the newspaper article, the letter, and the secondary source should each receive a written document analysis sheet. Each student should receive one document and the corresponding graphic organizer.
Allow the students time to read and analyze the primary and secondary sources. Remind students to look for details that might shed light on the flu and the different Alabamians that it affected. Write complete sentences, giving examples for the sources, to thoroughly answer each question on the analysis sheets.
Students should complete the graphic organizers with as much detail as possible.
Allow time for the students to share their documents with the group. This may allow group members to ask questions, go deeper into the documents, and add information to their analysis.
Rearrange the groups so that each group has the same document, i.e., all the photos are in one group, the letters, the newspaper article, and the secondary source. Give several minutes for them to share information about their source. Encourage the students to discuss the 5 W's: Who is in or mentioned in the document? Who might have created it? Where did it come from? When was it created? What is the tie to Alabama? Why was the document created? This discussion should add to the depth of study of the documents and the thoroughness of the written analysis.
Allow the students time to prepare a 2-3 minute group presentation about their primary sources. Each student should have a role in the presentation and be prepared to answer questions. The students should be prepared to explain the background of the document and how it describes life in Alabama during the flu epidemic.
After: Allow each group to share their primary source by using a document camera, if possible. A presentation rubric is provided in the attachments. The teacher should review the criteria on the rubric prior to the presentations. Students may use their graphic organizers, if needed, to share information about the document. The students should be prepared to answer questions.
If needed, prompt the students to answer:
- What kind of document is it?
- Who wrote/created it and when?
- Who was it intended for?
- Any interesting details about the flu?
- How were Alabamians affected by the flu?
Finally, after all the documents were shared, ask the students which source did they find most telling about how the flu affected Alabamians? Did primary sources give as much information as the secondary source?
To summarize, display the graph that was studied earlier in the lesson. Ask the students to relate all the ways that soldiers were killed during WWI; e.g. gas, bombs, bullets, infection, malnutrition, trench foot, gangrene, etc. Compare and contrast the number of deaths in the wars to those of the flu pandemic of 1918. Ask the students to write a summarizing sentence about death counts.