K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Learning outcomes

Students will examine changes in technology, medicine, and health that took place in North Carolina between 1870 and 1930 and construct products and ideas which demonstrate understanding of how these changes impacted people living in North Carolina at that time.

To achieve these goals, students will employ the eight intelligences of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory and:

  • Study the artifacts from the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, NC and develop multimedia presentations that compare and contrast the technologies available to doctors at that time with those of today.
  • Use games and simulation to recreate the role of a country doctor in the early 1900s.
  • Reflect upon the lives of different men and women who made important contributions to the field of medicine during this time period and write journal or diary entries emulating their thoughts and aspirations.
  • Graph and evaluate the relationship of deaths due to influenza with the age, gender, and race of the deceased during the epidemic of 1918–1919.
  • Research and compare the “Humoral Theory” of disease with the “Germ Theory” of disease and how it affected the way doctors practiced medicine.
  • Sketch a typical country doctor’s office of 1900, applying what they have learned about medical technologies and practices of the time in order to determine what should be included and excluded.
  • Create an advertisement to promote a “sure-fire” remedy that has been concocted.
  • Build a homeopathic medicine kit with some of the herbs they feel would be most beneficial from the Country Doctor Museum’s Medicinal Herb Garden.
  • Compose a song depicting the characteristics and consequences of a serious medical phenomenon such as the influenza epidemic of 1918.
  • Collect several “tried and true” home remedies or cures from older citizens of the community and share these with the class. Create a medical folklore database and share this with the community.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 weeks



  • Colored pencils
  • Graph paper
  • A folder/portfolio for each student

Copies of the following for each student

Classroom environments

  • Open classroom
  • Computer lab
  • The classroom will need to be divided into 8 multiple intelligence activity centers:
    • Interpersonal Activity Center
    • Intrapersonal Activity Center
    • Visual/Spatial Activity Center
    • Mathematical/Logical Activity Center
    • Verbal/Linguistic Activity Center
    • Musical/Rhythmic Activity Center
    • Bodily/Kinesthetic Activity Center
    • Naturalist Activity Center

Each center should have the appropriate materials/equipment described in this lesson plan.

Technology resources

  • Computers with internet access, PowerPoint or Hyperstudio software, and Quick Time player and Shockwave.
  • Projector to show PowerPoint presentations to the class.
  • Earphones for the computers while students are viewing and listening media-rich websites.


  1. Teachers will discuss/review the following or similar textbook chapters with their students:
  2. Explain the use of portfolios for assessment of work completed in this lesson.
  3. The Medical Folklore Questionnaires should be explained and sent home with each student. Students are to talk to grandparents or older members of the community and gather as much information about home remedies and “cures” they used or knew about to treat common illnesses and injuries of the day. These questionnaires must be completed and brought in to class for the last activity of this lesson.
  4. Discuss Medical Folklore and how people have used home remedies to treat themselves in the past.
  5. With the class, read the Over the Back Fence article, “Some Folk Remedies Did Work” by Hank Henry. Explain that in the past, it was common for families who were “cash poor” to rely on home remedies to treat themselves.
  6. Read some of the “cures” recommended to Peggy Fisher, a home health care nurse from Glasgow, WV, by her rural, elderly patients:
    • The root of rhubarb worn on a string around your neck will prevent stomachaches.
    • Tie a big red onion to the bedpost and it keeps the ones in the bed from having colds.
    • Boils are caused by impure blood; you should eat sorghum molasses, raisins and onions.
    • A dirty sock worn around your neck when you go to bed will cure a sore throat.
    • A buckeye carried in the pocket will cure rheumatism.
    • Don’t cut your hair in the dark of the moon or it may cause you to go bald.
    • Tea made from sumac leaves is good for and can cure asthma and hay fever.
    • An iron key pressed to the back of the neck will cure a nosebleed.
    • To stop a toothache in your left jaw, tie a string around the little toe of your right foot. For the right jaw, reverse the directions.
  7. If possible, have students access the Internet to participate in the PBS online activity Doctor Over Time. If Internet access is not available, the teacher should print the material out and distribute the text version of this activity. This interactive program will give students a “hands on” introduction to the ways medical care changed during the 20th century.



  1. Read the attached excerpt from Excerpts from The Country Doctor Museum Dedication Address to the class to give them an overview of the past roles and responsibilities of rural doctors in North Carolina.
  2. Take a virtual tour of The Country Doctor Museum and view the artifacts from the North Carolina History and Fiction Digital Library website.
  3. Have students work in pairs to create their own two or three slide PowerPoint or HyperStudio presentation which shows how the technologies (including surgical instruments, examining instruments, research instruments, medicine production, and transportation) available to the country doctors from 1870 through 1930 affected the way they practiced medicine.

DAYS 2-9

Students will rotate through the eight Multiple Intelligence Activity Centers, one center per day. After completing each activity, students should have a product to add to their portfolios, which will be used for assessment.

Interpersonal Activity

Create a game called “A Day in the Life of a Country Doctor.” The game should include a variety of things that help and hinder a country doctor while he travels to the homes of his patients, what he might find when he gets there, what he will do to treat the patient, what payment he might get for the medical care he provides, etc.

Intrapersonal Activity

Pick one of the following personages important to the field of medicine in the late 19th–early 20th centuries. Write a diary or journal entry from this person’s point of view. Include expressions of the attitudes and beliefs that would be typical of the character you choose:

  • Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D.: The first woman to receive an M.D. degree from an American medical school. Recommended sites:
  • Mrs. Joe Person (Alice): As a professional musician, patent medicine entrepreneur, and women’s rights advocate in the late 19th century, she was definitely a woman ahead of her time. Recommended site:
  • Rebecca Lee Crumpler, M.D.: The first African American woman to earn an M.D. degree. Recommended sites:
  • Louis Pasteur: The founder of the science of microbiology and the one who proved that most infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms (the “Germ Theory”). Recommended site:
  • Robert Koch: The German doctor who proved with certainty that the dreaded disease, tuberculosis, was caused by specific bacteria. His innovative research methods led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1905. Recommended sites:

Visual/Spatial Activity

Use pictures and information from the Country Doctor Museum to sketch a model of a typical doctor’s office of 1900. What furniture would you include? Medical equipment? Technologies (like microscopes or scales, etc.)? Medicines or herbs? Pictures? Include as many artifacts from the Country Doctor Museum as you can in your model office. Explain why a doctor would include these items in his office in 1900 and not in an office of 1850 or 1950.

Logical/Mathematical Activity

Use graphs to analyze the data from the chart Influenza Epidemic of 1918 in Louisiana to see if there is a relationship between those who died from the disease in Richland Parrish, Louisiana, and their Age, Sex, and Race/Color. Use the Graph and Table Templates to help you create your graphs.

  • Frequency Table: The number of times a data item occurs is the frequency of the item. A frequency table lists the frequency of each item in a set of data. Make a frequency table to show which race, gender, and age group suffered the most deaths from influenza in Richland Parrish from 1918 to 1919.
    • Which resident combination of race, gender, and age suffered the most deaths?
    • Which race suffered more total deaths, Blacks or Whites?
    • Estimate which gender (male or female) suffered the most deaths.
  • Histogram: A histogram is a special type of bar graph with no spaces between the bars. The height of each bar shows the frequency of data within that interval. Make four histograms using the data from the Frequency Table you created. Summarize the results for each histogram.
  • Stacked Bar Graph: This graph has bars that are divided into categories. Each bar represents a total. Use a key, or legend, to identify each category within a bar. Make four stacked bar graphs using the data from the Frequency Table. Summarize the results for each stacked bar graph.

Verbal/Linguistic Activity

Visit the Alice Pearson Digital Exhibit from the Joyner Digital Library at East Carolina University to read about Mrs. Alice Person, from Franklin County, NC, and her remedy to cure diseases of the blood. Read also about how she marketed her remedy to the public.

Create an advertisement flyer that would grab the attention of the people of the day and help sell Mrs. Joe Person’s Remedy. Use the Emergence of Advertising in America website from Duke University Libraries and the advertising categories related to Health and Medical Care, such as Advertising Ephemera. You can use the following examples as models:

Musical/Rhythmic Activity

Listen to the song Influenza and study the lyrics (included as an attachment). Write your own song about a disease that affected the people of NC from 1870 through 1930. You may use a melody that is familiar to you (Oh Susanna, Jingle Bells, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, etc.) and then create lyrics that fit the melody. The lyrics should include information about the disease: its symptoms, who it affected (the poor, soldiers, farmers, women, children, blacks, everyone?), its treatment, its prognosis, etc.

To access the song Influenza on the Internet, go to the Audio Subjects area of the John and Ruby Lomax Southern States Recording Trip Collection an the Library of Congress American Memory website. Click on Disaster Ballads. Then click on Influenza to hear the song played in MP3 format or the Influenza Textual Transcription to read the lyrics.

Bodily/Kinesthetic Activity

Make up and play a Germ Relay Race to help explain how certain diseases can be transmitted from person to person through physical contact. Write down the activity’s objectives, rules, number of players, props or game pieces, etc. on a piece of paper and put this into your portfolio.

Naturalist Activity

Study the list of plants found in the Country Doctor Museum Medicinal Herbs list. Pick fifteen of these herbs and put together your own homeopathic kit with the Homeopathic Kit Sheets. Research the following websites for additional information about medicinal herbs:

  • Folk Remedies from Health 911 has an alphabetical list of medical disorders, their causes, preventative measures, and folk or herbal remedies that can be used in place of doctor-prescribed medicine.
  • The Botanical.com website has a hyper-text version of A Modern Herbal, first published in 1931, by Mrs. M. Grieve, contains Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs.
  • Reference Guide For HERBS from a commercial enterprise called Austin Nutritutional Research.

Day 10

Medical Folklore Presentations

Each student should be prepared to describe, in front of the class, at least two “old-fashioned” remedies or cures for the illnesses or disorders found on the Medical Folklore Questionnaire as told to him by a grandparent or older member of the community during the two weeks of this lesson (see Pre-Activities). The teacher (or a selected student) will list these on the board as the students are describing them. After all students have had turns presenting their remedies/cures, the class will review what the teacher has written on the board and look for commonalities and differences in the information.

  • What herbs or substances were used most often as remedies/cures?
  • What illnesses or problems were treated most often with these remedies?
  • What was the most unusual remedy, either because of its ingredients or because of what it was supposed to treat?
  • What “old-fashioned” remedies are still in use today?
  • Are there any remedies that would be considered too dangerous or potentially harmful to be used today (for example, anything involving the tobacco plant)?
  • How many of these remedies are not used today because the illness or problems they treated do not exist today (at least not in this community)?


Portfolio Assessment: Students should have placed a particular product into their portfolios after completing each activity. Teachers will evaluate each student’s portfolio for completeness and accuracy.

It is up to the teacher to decide if additional assessment (i.e., testing) is required in order to determine if the goals and objectives of the lesson have been met.

Supplemental information

The “Excerpt from The Country Doctor Museum Dedication Address” and the “The Country Doctor Museum Medicinal Herbs list” printed and distributed by the Country Doctor Museum. Permission was granted to reproduce them here.


This can be a collaborative unit for each team of core-subject 8th grade teachers. Each teacher on the team can present the parts of the lesson he or she feels most comfortable with, or one teacher can present the entire lesson after the topics mentioned in the Pre-Activities have been covered by the “Subject Matter Experts.” In addition to this team collaboration, teachers will have an opportunity to incorporate activities based on Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. In essence, this theory challenges teachers to find more than one way to teach the same concept, thereby guaranteeing that more students will learn the concept.


The multiple intelligences theory was first published in 1983 in Dr. Howard Gardner’s book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner derived his theory from extensive brain research, which included interviews, tests, and research on hundreds of individuals. He concluded that intelligence is not one inborn fixed trait that dominates all the skills and problem-solving abilities students possess. While there may be one general intelligence in all human beings, there may also be other intelligences not covered by that one concept. Gardner believes that it is possible for all of us to develop these other intelligences given the right environmental conditions. These intelligences enable us to create useful products, to solve problems, and to acquire new knowledge.

The intelligences Gardner recognizes include: interpersonal, intrapersonal, verbal-linguistic, math-logic, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Each intelligence area is demonstrated through specific talents, skills, and interests. The fact that these intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened has a monumental influence on how children should be taught for maximum learning and achievement. Instead of ignoring or denying these differences in the belief that all students have, or should have the same kinds of minds, education should strive to provide all students with learning opportunities that maximize individual intellectual potential. As Gardner says, “Know as much as you can about the kids rather than make them pass through the same eye of the needle.”

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • History/Social Studies

        • Grades 6-8
          • 6-8.LH.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
        • Science & Technical Subjects

          • 6-8.LS.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 8

        • 8.L.1 Understand the hazards caused by agents of diseases that effect living organisms. 8.L.1.1 Summarize the basic characteristics of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites relating to the spread, treatment and prevention of disease. 8.L.1.2 Explain the difference...
      • Social Studies (2010)
        • 8.H.1 Apply historical thinking to understand the creation and development of North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.1.1 Construct charts, graphs, and historical narratives to explain particular events or issues. 8.H.1.2 Summarize the literal meaning of...
        • 8.H.3 Understand the factors that contribute to change and continuity in North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.3.1 Explain how migration and immigration contributed to the development of North Carolina and the United States from colonization to contemporary...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 8

  • Goal 1: The learner will use language to express individual perspectives through analysis of personal, social, cultural, and historical issues.
    • Objective 1.03: Interact in group activities and/or seminars in which the student:
      • shares personal reactions to questions raised.
      • gives reasons and cites examples from text in support of expressed opinions.
      • clarifies, illustrates, or expands on a response when asked to do so, and asks classmates for similar expansion.
    • Objective 1.04: Reflect on learning experiences by:
      • evaluating how personal perspectives are influenced by society, cultural differences, and historical issues.
      • appraising changes in self throughout the learning process.
      • evaluating personal circumstances and background that shape interaction with text.
  • Goal 2: The learner will use and evaluate information from a variety of sources.
    • Objective 2.01: Analyze and evaluate informational materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.
      • recognizing the characteristics of informational materials.
      • summarizing information.
      • determining the importance of information.
      • making connections to related topics/information.
      • drawing inferences.
      • generating questions.
      • extending ideas.
    • Objective 2.02: Use multiple sources of print and non-print information to explore and create research products in both written and presentational forms by:
      • determining purpose, audience, and context.
      • understnaing the focus.
      • recognizing and/or choosing a relevant topic.
      • recognizing and/or selecting presentational format (e.g., video, essay, interactive technology) appropriate to audience.
      • evaluating information for extraneous detail, inconsistencies, relevant facts, and organization.
      • researching and organizing information to achieve purpose.
      • using notes and/or memory aids to structure information.
      • supporting ideas with examples, definitions, analogies, and direct references to primary and secondary sources.
      • noting and/or citing sources used.
      • recognizing the use of and/or employing graphics such as charts, diagrams,and graphs to enhance the communication of information.
  • Goal 3: The learner will continue to refine the understanding and use of argument.
    • Objective 3.01: Explore and evaluate argumentative works that are read, heard and/or viewed by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.
      • analyzing the work by identifying the arguments and positions stated or implied and the evidence used to support them.
      • identifying the social context of the argument.
      • recognizing the effects of bias, emotional factors, and/or semantic slanting.
      • comparing the argument and counter-argument presented.
      • identifying/evaluating the effectiveness of tone, style, and use of language.
      • evaluating the author's purpose and stance
      • making connections between works, self and related topics.
      • responding to public documents (such as but not limited to editorials, reviews, local, state, and national policies/issues including those with a historical context).

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 8

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and use graphs and data analysis.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including scatterplots) to solve problems.

Science (2005)

Grade 8

  • Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate an understanding of technological design.
    • Objective 2.01: Explore evidence that "technology" has many definitions.
      • Artifact or hardware.
      • Methodology or technique.
      • System of production.
      • Social-technical system.
  • Goal 7: The learner will conduct investigations, use models, simulations, and appropriate technologies and information systems to build an understanding of microbiology.
    • Objective 7.02: Describe diseases caused by microscopic biological hazards including:
      • Viruses.
      • Bacteria.
      • Parasites.
      • Contagions.
      • Mutagens.

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 8

  • Goal 5: The learner will evaluate the impact of political, economic, social, and technological changes on life in North Carolina from 1870 to 1930.
    • Objective 5.04: Identify technological advances, and evaluate their influence on the quality of life in North Carolina.