This unit was created by Michael Mettenburg, a high school social studies teacher at Crane Preparatory Academy in Chicago, IL, as part of the Spring 2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Journalism and Justice. It is designed for facilitation across approximately five 60 minute class periods.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.

Unit Objectives

  1. Explain the patterns in Chicago mortality maps to draw a conclusion about where people live the longest.
  2. Explain the rising health issue in Senegal.
  3. Describe 3 factors that contribute to mortality rates and identify the factor(s) causing a rise in diabetes in Senegal.
  4. Explain patterns and trends in Chicago and use quantitative data to compare mortality issues in their neighborhood to other neighborhoods.
  5. Explain how communities in Chicago are working to decrease mortality issues and become healthier (Jigsaw).
  6. Identify 1 “Healthy People 2030” objective that fits a community need and complete a Think-Tac-Toe to help the CDC meet that objective.

Unit Overview

This 5-day unit will teach students about patterns/trends in mortality as they look at what is causing health issues around the world and local health disparities within their own city.  Students will explore factors that influence mortality and how local and global communities are improving their health.  Students will ultimately analyze the health indicators within their own community and pick a “Healthy People 2030” objective to help achieve through civic action.

We’ll be focusing on 2 skills in this unit: (1) Analyzing quantitative data in maps by identifying patterns and/or drawing conclusions and (2) Using relevant evidence to support unique claims (or in this case, civic action).

Scope and Sequence

(60 min lessons)

  1. Mortality in Chicago - What is mortality and what does it look like?
    • Explain the patterns in Chicago mortality maps to draw a conclusion about where people live the longest.
    • Draw conclusions based on quantitative data
  1. Mortality around the world
    • Factors of Diabetes: 1. Diet, 2. Exercise and Health Literacy, and 3.  Money
    • In Senegal, which factors are causing diabetes?
  1. My City/Community Data (CHI#3)
    • Use the Chicago health indicators to explain patterns and trends in Chicago and use quantitative data compare 1 neighborhood to another neighborhood
    •  Identify an issue in YOUR neighborhood that contributes to mortality rates that is important to you.
  2. What do the experts say?
  1. Fighting Morality (expressing our love for our communities) - What can we do to impact mortality rates?
    • How can we impact mortality rates? Which factor is being addressed?

Performance Task

After researching the health indicators that are affecting their community the most, students will identify one “Healthy People 2030” objective that fits their community’s needs and develop a plan to help the CDC meet that objective. Students will spread awareness about a health concern in their neighborhood and advocate for a solution by either crafting a social media post, writing a letter to their alderman or a newspaper. They will choose three civic-action tasks outlined in a student selection matrix, or think-tac-toe. 

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