81 pages 2 hours read

Jim Murphy

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Nonfiction | Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2014

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Use this activity to engage all types of learners, while requiring that they refer to and incorporate details from the text over the course of the activity.

“Research Project: Influential Public Health Defenders in 1793”

In this activity, students will research and write a report on one of the individuals Murphy mentions in his text who helped combat yellow fever.

Murphy mentions many important people who helped combat yellow fever during the outbreak in 1793. For this activity, select one person whom Murphy briefly mentions and research their life. Consider the following questions as you conduct your research:

  • Who was this historical figure?
  • When and where was this person born?
  • Why did this person want to combat yellow fever?
  • How does Murphy reference this person in his work?
  • What is the legacy of this person in the fight against yellow fever?

Be sure to gather any drawings, writings, or notes you find on your selected individual. Finally, share your results with the class.

Teaching Suggestion: This activity encourages students’ research skills in the thematic context of public health defenders. Students may work either in a group or individually, depending on the size and nature of the class. As Murphy briefly mentions a plethora of individuals throughout his text, each student should be able to select an individual without any overlap.