Translate page with Google

Lesson Plan July 7, 2016

HIV/AIDS in Haiti: An Island of Hope and Despair




Student Preparation:

1. Assign the reading as homework if you would like to complete the lesson in one 45-50 minute class period

Anticipatory Set:

1. Distribute the blank maps of the Caribbean (map here).

  • Ask the students to label Haiti.
  • Project a map or use a pull down map to illustrate the location of Haiti to the United States.
  • Discuss what the students notice (e.g. proximity to the U.S., size, general location)

2. Write the statement "Haiti is an island of hope and despair" on the board.

  • Ask the students to write down a personal definition for "hope" and a personal definition of "despair"
  • Discuss the definitions
  • Write a class definition for each word


1. Introduction

  • Project the map of AIDS in the Caribbean.
  • Ask the students, "Based on the map, do you think the situation in Haiti is one of hope or despair?" and follow up with, "Why do you think that?"
  • Explain that the students are going to be reading an article regarding AIDS in Haiti. Half of the class will be reading an article about the work of Dr. Paul Farmer and half the class will be reading about the work of Jean Pape.
  • As the students read their article they will complete the T-charts (worksheets here). One is entitled "Haiti: Hope and Despair;" the second is entitled "The United States and Haiti: Hope and Despair." Distribute the handouts and the readings (each student gets one reading and two handouts).

2. Read the articles (resources #1 & #2) – 10 minutes to read and complete the charts

3. Divide the students into two groups (the students with the same article will be working together) 15 minutes

  • Explain to the students they will complete a chart for hope and a chart for despair, which they will share with their classmates
    • the "Hope" chart will be divided in half. The top half will be hope from within Haiti and the bottom half will be hope from the U.S.
    • the "Despair" chart will be divided in half. The top half will be despair from within Haiti and the bottom half will be despair from the U.S.
  • The students need to select one student to give a brief overview of the article to the class and four students who will present the "hope" and "despair".

4. Students present their information to the class. After each presentation show the video clip from the Pulitzer Center about the article to the class.

5. Reflective Writing (Homework): Distribute scoring guides and discuss

  • Option 1 – A three-paragraph persuasive essay supporting either
    • "Haiti is an island of Hope" or
    • "Haiti is an island of Despair"
  • Option 2 – An eight-block cartoon depicting Haiti as an island of hope and Haiti as an island of despair


  • Interactive Site: Heroes of HIV
  • The third resource is the Global Gateway from the Pulitzer Center if you would like to find more resources about the topic.

Lesson Created by Liz Morrison. Liz Morrison is the coordinator of social studies for the Parkway School District located in west St. Louis County. In 2001 Liz was selected as the National Council for the Social Studies Secondary Teacher of the Year. Liz was the featured guest on Talk of the Nation in September 2002 regarding teaching 9/11 and other "hot topics" in public high schools. In addition, Liz Morrison's work with controversial issues in the classroom was featured in the Annenberg program "Social Studies in Action."

Please help us understand your needs better by filling out this brief survey!

Will you use this lesson plan in a class you teach?
By sharing your email address, you are opting in to receive updates from the Pulitzer Center Education team.



navy halftone illustration of a female doctor with her arms crossed


Health Inequities

Health Inequities
navy halftone illustration of a group of pharmaceutical pills


Outbreaks and Epidemics

Outbreaks and Epidemics