Written by Kaitlin Morgan —
O’NEALS — Diseases that have been long eradicated by vaccines have been re-emerging for a variety of reasons around the world. As a result, sophomore students enrolled in Miss Morgan’s World History at Minarets High School investigated these reasons as part of their project-based learning about the Industrial Revolution. This knowledge, however, was not kept within the confines of the classroom; the final projects were donated to Valley Children’s Hospital in hopes of spreading awareness about historical diseases.
The project was launched in November with the viewing of several news reports of recent outbreaks of the measles, bubonic plague, and whooping cough. Students then examined the general effects diseases have had in history, the emergence of new diseases during the urbanization of the Industrial Revolution, and the arguments for and against the use of vaccines.
From there, students selected a disease to investigate its general information, including symptoms, treatments, and outbreaks, and then wrote about the effects that one outbreak had on society.
During this process, Patricia Regonini, the Institutional Review Board coordinator from Valley Children’s Hospital, came to Minarets to discuss infectious diseases, prevention, and public health policies with the students:
“I was so impressed by the way in which the students were engaged in the lesson, and how prepared they were with all of the background knowledge they had accumulated. I really appreciated how engaged they all were as ‘epidemiologists’ during our case study of Legionnaire’s Disease!” said Mrs. Regonini.
With all of this information, students then created their final project, an infographic displaying information that they believed would be relevant to the visitors, children, and workers at Valley Children’s Hospital.
Students worked diligently in December to craft infographics that would be both informative and kid-appropriate. Several drafts and peer reviews were completed until the final product was presented to the class and delivered to Valley Children’s Hospital.
Mrs. Regonini responded: “On behalf of the entire Research Team at Valley Children’s Hospital, I’d like to thank you and your sophomore history classes for their donations of the pictographs on disease outbreaks. We are delighted with the innovation in which the way the various illnesses were portrayed by these creative students! There was clearly a lot of background research and imagination which went into the creation of the posters, and we are most appreciative.”
As a result, Miss Morgan’s students have been invited to attend the Valley Children’s Hospital Health Day in April, where students will get the opportunity to learn more about health careers as well as meet with the Infection Prevention Department.
“Miss Morgan’s novel method for encouraging students to examine disease outbreaks from multiple perspectives gives students a larger view of the complex issues related to public health and greatly enhances their learning. The healthcare field is filled with prospects for young people to explore their varied interests, and the fact that you are planting the seeds of discovery with these young people is encouraging.”