1. Ask students for a show of hands of how many have had measles, mumps, chickenpox, rubella, scarlet fever, diphtheria, polio. Note that the reason for the lack of a show of hands is because of inoculations and immunizations. However, this was not the case for the 18th and 19th centuries.
2. Working with the First Ladies Curriculum Timeline, make a list of the Presidential children who died before their 12th birthday. To save some time, here is a list of dates: 1770, 1775, 1777, 1781, 1784, 1801, 1812, 1817, 1825, 1820, 1836, 1843, 1850, 1862, 1863, 1866, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1904, 1909, 1921, 1953, 1963.
3. Research the cause of death of each child when it is available.
4. Divide the list of illnesses among the class, deciding whether students should work individually or in groups.
5. Have each student/group write a short report in which they discuss the disease, its general mortality rate (if possible), how the disease has been addressed in the modern period, and, if there is a vaccine, who developed it.
Students may look further into each of the common childhood contagious diseases to determine what the status of those diseases is today, and discuss if, and if so, why, that status has changed.