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October 28

Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine, was born in 1914.

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Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine, was born in 1914.

Grades 5 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Dr. Jonas Salk was born in New York City on October 28, 1914. In 1953, Salk announced that he had successfully developed a polio vaccine, reducing the number of deaths from the disease in the U.S. by 95%. During the last 10 years of his life, Salk focused on AIDS research. Salk died in 1995.

 

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

After learning about Dr. Jonas Salk, ask your students to interview a family member or somebody they know who remembers when polio was endemic. There are many stories related to the history of the disease in the United States-from the first people to be vaccinated to those who had the disease themselves. Students can share their stories and interviews in class. If students are unable to locate enough people who can share memories of the disease, visit the Share Your Story section of the March of Dimes website. Take advantage of the stories to talk about the difference between fact and opinion, making note of the information from the stories on the board. Compare the facts from the stories to the facts available in reference materials. If desired, students can submit their family stories to the appropriate area of the March of Dimes website.

 

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Jonas Salk, M.D.

    This page from the Academy of Achievement provides an excellent biography on Salk, including video of his interviews and photographs.

     

  • On the Edge: Paralyzing Polio

    Have your students read the comic-book style story of how Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for polio.

     

  • The End of Polio

    This website aims to increase awareness of polio and to raise the funds needed to eradicate the disease. The site offers an excellent history of the disease from 1580 BC to the present.

     

  • Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine

    From the Eisenhower Library, this website provides online access to many of the primary documents related to the polio vaccine, including presidential statements and official government documents.

     

RELATED RESOURCES

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Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the US to earn a MD degree in 1849.

Grades   3 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  January 23

Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the US to earn a MD degree in 1849.

"Famous Firsts" are researched by students, followed by small group research and multimedia presentations to report research results.