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Most Dangerous Woman in America, The

Viewing Ideas

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Before Watching

  1. Review the following terms with your students (see Activity Answer for definitions): bacteria, contagious, epidemiology, infectious, and quarantine.

  2. Organize the class into four groups and have each group take notes on one of the following points of view presented in the program: public health officials, Mary Mallon, families whose members contracted typhoid fever from Mallon, and the general public.

After Watching

  1. Have each group reflect on the out- look presented by the person or group it followed in the program. Then have each group recount a short summary of the point of view and the group's opinion about that point of view. Ask the class to discuss how the groups' views differ. What points do the students agree with? Disagree with? Why?

  2. Mary Mallon was confined because as a healthy carrier of typhoid she could transmit the disease to others, yet she continued to work in a job in which transmission was likely. Did public health officials make the right decision when they removed her from her job? Why or why not? What are the rights and responsibilities of an individual who can transmit a disease? What are the rights and responsibilities of the society in which the individual lives?

  3. Have students research school health policies. What are the guidelines for dealing with a range of contagious diseases or an epidemic? What do students think about existing policies? Have students defend their reasoning.

Teacher's Guide
Most Dangerous Woman in America, The
BUY THE VIDEO PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY RELATED NOVA RESOURCES INTERACTIVE FOR STUDENTS
   

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