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BEFORE YOU WATCH: Eradicating Smallpox

As we battle this pandemic and seek to prevent the next, we might look to history for lessons. The worst disease that has ever afflicted humanity is also the only one we’ve ever eradicated. Dr. Larry Brilliant lived this history as part of the global campaign to end smallpox. In this video, he reflects on the long history of humanity’s battle against smallpox and how the world finally found the public will to defeat its old foe at the end of the twentieth century. Like what you see? This video is part of a comprehensive social studies curriculum from OER Project, a family of free, online social studies courses. OER Project aims to empower teachers by offering free and fully supported social studies courses for middle- and high-school students. Your account is the key to accessing our standards-aligned courses that are designed with built-in supports like leveled readings, audio recordings of texts, video transcripts, and more. Register today at oerproject.com! Website: https://www.oerproject.com/World-History Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OERProject Twitter: https://twitter.com/oerproject
Use the “Three Close Reads” approach as you watch the video below (next in the lineup!). If you want to learn more about this strategy, click here.

First read: preview and skimming for gist

Before you watch, you should skim the transcript first. The skim should be very quick and give you the gist (general idea) of what the video is about. You should be looking at the title, thumbnails, pictures, and first few seconds of the video for the gist.

Second read: key ideas and understanding content

Now that you’ve skimmed the video transcript and taken a quick peek at the video, you should preview the questions you will be answering. These questions will help you get a better understanding of the concepts and arguments that are presented in the video. Keep in mind that when you watch the video, it is a good idea to write down any vocab you read or hear that is unfamiliar to you.
By the end of the second close read, you should be able to answer the following questions:
  1. According to Dr. Larry Brilliant, what made smallpox the worst disease in history?
  2. What is variolation?
  3. Who created the first smallpox vaccine? According to Dr. Larry, how did that person discover and test vaccines?
  4. What was ring vaccination?
  5. According to Dr. Larry, what was the most important factor in eradicating smallpox?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

Finally, here are some questions that will help you focus on why this video matters and how it connects to other content you’ve studied.
At the end of the third read, you should be able to respond to these questions:
  1. After watching this video, what do you think is the single most important step that humanity could take to prevent another pandemic?
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to watch! Remember to return to these questions once you’ve finished watching.

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