Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Fever: Lesson Plan and Resources

Classroom Guide

Surviving History: The Fever is my own, freely-available work of historical interactive fiction,  set in the city of Philadelphia during the 1793 yellow fever outbreak. Below are some resources and suggestions for getting started using this game as a great teaching tool in the classroom.

Topics explored: history, history of medicine, epidemics, colonial America, yellow fever, historic Philadelphia, urban history, Benjamin Rush, literacy

Game premise: The Fever is a branching narrative about the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic in 1793. Players take on the role of fictional physician, Dr. John Brooks, and make choices which determine how the story of the epidemic will unfold for Dr. Brooks.


Primary sources:

For secondary and post-secondary instruction, The Fever can serve as a good way of introducing a variety of topics in the history of medicine, the history of science, and the history of colonial American cities. When planning such a lesson, you will most likely want to pair a reading The Fever with that of one or two primary sources. Below is a short collection of related source material, all roughly contemporaneous to the setting of The Fever.

Mathew Carey, "A short account of the malignant fever, lately prevalent in Philadelphia..." (pdf)

College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Proceedings of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Relative to the Prevention of the Introduction and Spreading of Contagious Diseases. (pdf)

Jean Devèze, An Enquiry Into, and Observations Upon the Causes and Effects of the Epidemic Disease, which Raged in Philadelphia from the Month of August Till towards the Middle of December, 1793.

Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, A Narrative of the Proceedings of Black People During the 
Late Awful Calamity in the Year 1793, and a Refutation of Some Censures, Thrown Upon 
Them in Some Late Publications. (pdf)

Benjamin Rush, "Observations upon the origin of the malignant bilious, or yellow fever in Philadelphia, and upon the means of preventing it : addressed to the citizens of Philadelphia." (pdf)

----, "A second address to the citizens of Philadelphia, containing additional proofs of the domestic origin of the malignant bilious, or yellow fever : to which are added, observations, intended to shew that a belief in that opinion, is calculated to lessen the mortality of the disease, and to prevent its recurrence." (pdf)

Samuel Stearns, "An Account of the Terrible Effects of the Pestilential Infection in the City of Philadelphia; With an Elegy on the Deaths of the People; also, A Song of Praise and Thanksgiving, Composed for Those Who Have Recovered, After Having Been Smitten with that Dreadful Contagion."


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