Procedure: Day 4
At the beginning of the class, the students will be reminded of
their court verdict from the last class. The remainder of the film
will then be shown revealing Mary’s actual verdict as well as the
rest of her story. At the conclusion of the film, students will be
asked to discuss the ethics of what happened to Mary as well as
the nature of science objective through the use of Handout 3.
The following are recommended modifications to the above lesson
plan that may better suit the instructor and class needs:
• The lesson plan can be easily condensed into two days. Students
can work in groups when answering questions on the worksheets, review Powerpoint presentations before coming to class,
and even finish questions on the worksheet as homework.
• Students could read George Soper’s first-hand account of the
historical episode (Soper, 1939).
This lesson has been used in the college-level classroom with both
non-majors and pre-professional health students. Based on the
anecdotal feedback from the instructor, the students responded
positively to this lesson plan. According to the instructor, with particular emphasis on the court case reenactment, students were
active participants in the learning process and were engaged not
only with one another, but with the material as well. The instructor
reported an excitement in her students during the court case reenactment that she had not seen before during a lecture class. The
instructor has reported that students seemed to be interested in
the NOS concept and seemed to have a deeper understanding of
NOS based on the answers given on the in class worksheets.
Powerpoint slides will be made available upon request.
1. Being familiar with various biochemical tests and staining
techniques, what tests and stains would you use to identify
the bacterial cultures in Mary’s fecal sample?
2. How would you apply Koch’s postulates to Mary’s fecal sample?
3. If Mary does have typhoid fever, why is she not sick herself?
Do Koch’s postulates still apply?
4. What are scientists and public officials doing currently to
inform the public of the disease outbreak?
1. What techniques did George Soper and the Department of
Health use to determine that Mary was the cause of the
typhoid fever outbreaks? How does this relate to current epidemiological practices?
2. How did scientists and public officials handle Mary’s particular case? How did this effect the public’s view of Mary and
the disease of typhoid fever?
3. In what other ways have scientists affected the outcomes of
public understanding? Does the public always listen to the
scientists? Why or why not?
1. Why do you think George Soper tried so hard to get Mary to
2. Why do you think Mary refused to cooperate? Would the
outcome have been different if she had?
3. Did the newspaper reports hurt or help Mary’s cause? Should
the Department of Health have stepped in to help ease the
public view of the outbreak?
4. Do you think the verdict was fair? If yes, then explain. If no,
then offer an alternative sentence and plan for Mary.
5. In the nature of science, it is often scientists’ responsibility to
provide insight into areas of public concern. How did the
scientists do that with Mary’s case? How do they continue
to do that today?
1. A German physician who studied the transmission of disease and is
best known for his postulates (Koch’s postulates), which are still used
today as a basis for the diagnosis of disease.
2.Th is product can be ordered from this website: https://www.
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