Questions, In-depth Analysis, Vocabulary, and Role Play
By Laura Greenwald, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced
This lesson plan focuses on how America is preparing to respond to a
potential bioterrorist attack. After examining relevant medical terminology
(e.g., what is a vaccine?), students will review current public health
information and recommendations related to the smallpox vaccination.
Then, students will listen to Preparing
for Bioterror, weighing the benefits and risks of the smallpox vaccination.
Finally, students will join together in a role play as members of the
nation's Task Force on Bioterrorism. In teams, students will debate
how the U.S. should best prepare for a future bioterrorist attack with
particular attention to the role of vaccinations. Students may also
for Terror to learn about a recent simulation of a bioterrorist
attack. Through analysis of the current debate on effective preventive
and response scenarios, students will develop their critical thinking
and problem-solving skills. Moreover, students will gain in-depth knowledge
of an important national concern. This lesson consists of three parts,
which can be used separately or together:
of Smallpox: What is a vaccine? Students will become familiar
with the topic by examining the features of smallpox, the benefits
and risks of the Smallpox vaccination, and the policy recommendations
for dealing with the threat posed by weaponized smallpox. For insight
into these issues, students will study Web sites to answer key questions
(links to CDC, FDA, and DHHS are provided). In addition, a matching
activity helps students to learn key medical terminology.
Main Themes: After listening to two NewsHour reports, students
will discuss the main themes as well as compare and contrast attitudes
analysis of viewpoints: A classroom or homework option centering
on extended interviews is provided.
Play: Task Force on Bioterrorism: By completing this activity,
students will explore the benefits and risks of the smallpox vaccination
and will make policy recommendations about the best course of action.
with Jim Lehrer (November 14,2002): Preparing for Bioterror
with Jim Lehrer (November 11,2002): Bracing for Bioterror
to National Standards
of Smallpox: Before students watch the two NewsHour reports, they
should conduct background research to become familiar with the topic.
Provide students with a handout,
which includes both useful Web site links and study questions about Smallpox
- its history, features, and the purpose and adverse effects of vaccination.
The matching activity
will familiarize students with important medical terms.
Web site on Bioterrorism
for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Health and Human Services
Food and Drug Administration bioterrorism Web site
Nemours Foundation - TeensHealth
is smallpox? How does a person contract smallpox and how does it spread?
Does it still occur in the world today?
is smallpox prevented?
the smallpox vaccine. What are the possible harmful effects of vaccination?
Who should not be vaccinated?
Activity: Match the following medical terms with definitions below.
2. Variola virus _____
3. Eczema _____
4. Generalized vaccinia _____
5. Prophylaxis _____
6. Pre-inoculation screening _____
7. Bioterrorism _____
8. Petri dish _____
9. Weaponized smallpox _____
10. Antibiotic _____
11. Epidemiologist _____
12. Contraindications _____
13. Surveillance _____
14. Contact tracing _____
15. Quarantine _____
A. reasons not to be vaccinated
B. drug used to treat bacteria that will not work on a vaccine virus
C. virus that causes smallpox
D. preventive measure
E. a period of isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease
F. disk shaped laboratory container, several inches in diameter, used
to grow bacteria or cells
G. modified live virus used in the vaccine
H. systematic search and recording of cases of a disease
I. a skin rash
J. use of infectious agent such as smallpox or anthrax as a way to cause
widespread disease, fear, and panic
K. public health physician or scientist who studies disease outbreaks
L. smallpox virus made to be easily dispersed through air and spread
rapidly from one person to another
M. identification of people exposed to someone with the disease
N. severe, widespread skin infection with the vaccine virus
O. brief medical exam to see who should not be vaccinated because of
high risk of harm from the vaccine
Answer Key: 1. G 2. C 3. I 4. N 5. D 6. O 7. J 8. F 9. L 10. B 11.
K 12. A 13. H 14. M 15. E
Understanding Main Themes - Viewing Activities
for Bioterror and Bracing
Each student should receive a handout
with the discussion questions. First, place students in small discussion
groups so they can share ideas about the main themes, compare and contrast
attitudes, and express opinions on key issues. Students should write
short answers to the discussion questions based on the small group interaction.
Then, moderate a larger discussion.
are possible harmful effects of the smallpox vaccination? Why do these
effects influence vaccination policy?
to the report, how has the U.S. government responded to a potential bioterrorist
attack? What are the arguments for vaccinating some Americans now?
key concerns of health care and emergency workers regarding the smallpox
did Dr. Paul Offit vote against the plan to vaccinate a large number
of health care workers?
challenges did hospitals, health care personnel, and government institutions
face when dealing with the simulated bioterrorist attack? How did they
What was the main lesson learned from the similated bioterrorist attack
featured in the report?
Analysis of Viewpoints - Homework or Classroom Assignment
analysis of bioterrorism, students can read and summarize extended interviews
listed on the NewsHour Web site: Understanding and Preparing for the
threat (see link below)
assign this activity for homework, ask students to write short summaries
of one or more extended interview. At the next class meeting, students
can exchange their summaries with a partner. If this activity is completed
in class, place students in small discussion groups for review of the
extended interviews. Discussion teams may focus primarily on one extended
interview and report their analyses back to the class.
or Small Group Activities - Role Play: Task Force on Bioterrorism
Place students in small groups for the role play, in which students
will represent members of the nation's Task Force on Bioterrorism. Ask
students to examine focus questions regarding the controversial "pre-attack"
vaccination plan. After discussion of these questions, students should
make at least three policy recommendations addressing key issues raised
in the focus questions. You may require students to write responses
to the focus questions as
a classroom or homework assignment. Finally, join the Task Force groups
together for a class discussion/debate on the policy recommendations.
the U.S. have a preventive smallpox vaccination policy before anyone is
diagnosed with smallpox? Or, should the government advocate vaccination
only after the first person is diagnosed? Explain.
a preventive vaccination is implemented, who should be vaccinated? What
are the options? Who should not be vaccinated?
are the benefits of the smallpox vaccination?
are the possible harmful effects of the smallpox vaccination?
you were the head of a hospital in your area, what would you recommend
for vaccination your hospital staff?
a student who took a bus to school were diagnosed with smallpox, how
should the school system and/or government respond?
to National Standards:
Thinking and Reasoning Standards:
1. Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument
2. Understands and applies basic principles of logic and reasoning
4. Understands and applies basic principles of hypothesis testing and
5. Applies basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques
6. Applies decision-making techniques
*Standard 1-Knows the availability and effective use of health services,
products, and information.
*Standard 2-Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual
and community health.
*Standard 8-Knows essential concepts about the prevention and control
Life Skills, Working with Others Standards:
*Standard 1-Contributes to the overall effort of the group
*Standard 4 -Displays effective interpersonal communication skills
*Standard 5 - Demonstrates leadership skills
Nature of Science Standards
*Standard 12--Understands the nature of scientific inquiry
Level, 7-Knows that investigations and public communication among scientists
must meet certain criteria in order to result in new knowledge and methods.
*Standard 13--Understands the scientific enterprise
Level 4, 1-Knows throughout history diverse cultures have developed
scientific ideas and solved human problems through technology.
Level 4, 2-Understands that individuals and teams contribute to science
and engineering at different levels of complexity (e.g., an individual
may conduct basic field studies; hundreds of people may work together
on a major scientific question or technological problem
Level 4, 4-Knows that science and technology are essential social enterprises,
but alone they can only indicate what can happen, not what should happen.
Author Laura Greenwald teaches English for International
Relations at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced
International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC. She has a Master's Degree
in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Monterey
Institute of International Studies and a Master's Degree in International
Relations from Johns Hopkins University SAIS. She has a B.A. in International
Relations from Johns Hopkins University.
To find out more about opportunities to contribute
to this site, contact Leah Clapman at email@example.com