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  • Writer's pictureMegan

Science Resource Addendum

I'm preparing the assignment sheets for our second six week term now. I had always planned to supplement the chapter in Lyrical Life Science with a biography of Edward Jenner. I was so impressed with the biography our local library had that I decided scrap the chapter in Lyrical Life Science altogether and write study guide questions for the biography. What biography is so wonderful, you ask? (Clicking the cover image will take you to Amazon, where I may earn a commission for your purchase.)

"Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster" by Albert Marrin is a non-fiction title aimed at 5th - 9th grade students. Dr. Marrin is an award winning author of non-fiction historical literature for middle and high school students. His background as a collegiate professor of history and junior high social studies teacher is evident in the way that he has woven together the story Edward Jenner's of the development of the smallpox vaccine with a fact-based narrative of the horrific impacts smallpox has had on populations throughout history. Despite the living book style of the text, there is plenty of scientific content, including an overview of the differences between bacteria and viruses and the function of the immune system with regards to both.

While Charlotte Mason would simply assign this book a few chapters per week and expect verbal or written narrations from the student, I elected to stick with the more familiar study guide questions. In creating the study guide, I focused questions on the scientific aspects of the book, rather than the historical narrative. A timeline allows students to quickly grasp the sequence of events leading to the elimination of wild smallpox. It also allows the incorporation of as many of the historical implications as the student or teacher is inclined toward.

The parallels between the devastation of smallpox epidemics and the current Covid-19 pandemic were certainly in mind as I wrote the study guide, especially as the last chapter of the book discusses the debate over the preservation of laboratory smallpox and the possible strategies for dealing with an outbreak of smallpox. I chose not to include the connections in the study guide, both because I do not want to limit the lifespan of the study guide and because I know that students in this age bracket will be able to make the connections themselves if they are mentally and emotionally ready to do so.

Whether you choose to use the book alone or with my study guide, this book should make it into your studies! You can purchase my study guide here, on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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