HIV/AIDS In Palm Beach County, Florida

Introducing the Lesson:

1. Distribute the assignment sheet “Graphing AIDS and HIV in Florida” and the “HIV/AIDS in Florida” timeline handout.

  • Explain the instructions to the students
  • Assign partners
  • Students complete the assignment in a computer lab or on classroom computers
  • Students return to class (or put the computers away)

2. Discuss the questions on the handout (handout here)

3. Distribute Antigone Barton’s article about Dr. Jean Malecki and article analysis questions as homework (Resource #1). 


1. Introduction

  • Divide the students into groups of four.
  • Provide each group of four a large piece of newsprint
  • In their small groups, have the students discuss and respond to each of the questions from their homework assignment on the large paper. Remind the students that for question #1 they can still only have three responses.
  • Post and discuss the students’ responses.

2. Refer to the timeline from the preceding class period. Ask, “When would education regarding HIV/AIDS have had the most impact?” and “Why do you think that?”

3. You are going to participate in an activity called “Take a Side”. Based on the information from the article, the HIV/AIDS timeline and your personal knowledge of HIV/AIDS education respond to the following prompts from an assigned perspective: (Distribute Handout) -- It is the role of public education to educate young people about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. -- The “abstinence only” policy is the strategy public schools should use in educating students about HIV/AIDS.

4. In your groups of four, assign each person a number from one to four.

  • Number Ones – you will respond to each prompt as Board of Education Member
  • Number Twos – you will respond to each prompt as a public health worker
  • Number Threes – you will respond to each prompt as a parent whose child attends a public school
  • Number Fours – you will respond to each prompt as a high school student

5. You have five minutes to write down your argument for each prompt.

6. Have the students sit in their groups of four – each student will read his/her perspective for one prompt “As a member of the Board of Education I believe …”

  • Discuss the different perspectives
  • Read the response to the second prompt
  • Discuss the different perspectives

7. Writing for understanding – Why is their debate over educating young people about HIV/AIDS and its prevention important? What role do you believe public education should play and why?


  • 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.”

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