This lesson is part of the Healthcare Unit and Assessment Plan.

To download this lesson as a PDF, click here (student handouts included).


Lesson Title: The Impact of Myths and Rumors

Grade Level: 7th Grade

Scope and Sequence

  • Middle of the Unit; day 6 or 7
  • Explore and Explain

Big Idea: Myths and Rumors

Essential Questions

  1. How do diseases impact a community? Village? Country?
  2. What kind of impact do rumors and myths have on a community, village, or country affected by an infectious disease?
  3. How can myths and rumors be proven false to an entire community? Can the effects of rumors and diseases be resolved?


  • CCSS
    • 7.8 – Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
    • 7.2d – Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • GLCEs
    • 7-W4.2.3 – The Plague –Use historical and modern maps and other evidence to explain the causes and consequences of the Plague.


  • The student will be able to identify a myth and a rumor regarding the plague and its consequences on a community, and trace it back to its source by creating “rumor map” that states and explains the source of the rumor/myth and at least five possible variations of the rumor/myth.
  • The student will be able to demonstrate the importance of not spreading rumors by producing a creatively made, 3-4 minute informational video showing the twisted impact a rumor/myth has on at least five people groups within a community and explaining a strategy for how to dissipate rumors.


This assessment consists of two parts, the rumor tree and the creatively made informational video. Through this lesson and assessment, students will learn just how far-reaching the impacts of rumors and myths are. Prior to these assessments, students will have studied the plague more in depth and will have traced its destructive path across Europe. Through tracing the rumor/myth back to its original source, students will be required to utilize higher level thinking skills by evaluating and analyzing different possible sources and narrowing it down as close as they can to the original source. Producing a creatively made informational video requires students to think through consequences, something that entails utilizing analysis and critical thinking skills.



  • Cameras for videos
  • Computers/Internet for Research
  • Paper and Art supplies for rumor maps
  • Journals
  • Student Worksheet
  • Rubric


  • Engage: Show video: Black Death from Ratatouille
    • (Pretest) Have students draw a picture, write a story, or act out what they think a rumor is. Allow time for discussion and basic peer evaluation.
      • Introduce Big Idea and Essential Questions – have posted in a visible place around the room
        • Big Idea: Rumors and Myths
        • Essential Questions
          • How do diseases impact a community? Village? Country?
          • What kind of impact do rumors and myths have on a community, village, or country affected by an infectious disease?
          • How can myths and rumors be proven false to an entire community? Can the effects of rumors and diseases be resolved?
      • Allow time for students to react to the essential questions. Options for this include:
        • Writing a journal entry
        • Creating a Vlog
          • ELL: If the school has a translator for a student’s particular language, allow ELL students to react to the essential questions with a vlog in their primary language.
          • LD: Depending on the disability, allow LD students to either act out their reaction or explain in their own words their reaction to the essential questions. Provide “talking points” (prompts) if necessary:
            • What is a disease?
            • Does a disease affect a community in a good way or a bad way? Show me why.
            • What is a rumor?
            • Does a rumor affect a community in a good way or a bad way? Show me why.
          • Also a great option for non ELL/LD learners
        • Predicting how these essential questions might be answered (Graphic Organizers – Sequencing, Bubble Maps)
  •  Explore
    • Explain end assessments and come up with (as a class) criteria for assessments.
      • Learning Target: I will be able to trace a rumor surrounding the plague back to its source and I will be able to show how a community is impacted by a rumor.
    • Tracing the plague:
      • We’ve been learning about the plague and you’ve already spent some time tracing the path of the plague through Europe. Now we’re going to be learning some of the rumors and myths that came with the plague, and we’re going to be making some fascinating discoveries about these rumors and myths.
      • Right now, I want you to do some digging to learn about a rumor or myth about the plague. I will give you 10 minutes to do some research.
        • LD: Provide rumor/myth for student and provide materials for learning about that particular rumor/myth.
        • Rumor examples:
  • Explain
    • After 10 minutes is up:
      • Class Discussion: Have students share about the myths they found.
        • Begin to influence the discussion to the impact of rumors and myths.
        • What kind of emotions do diseases produce?
        • How might these emotions affect rumors and myths?
  • Explore (15 minutes)
    • Now that you’ve begun to understand the impact behind these rumors and myths, I want you to dig even deeper. Where did the rumor and myth come from? Do your best to trace the idea back to its original source.
      • When you do this, you know you are on the right track when you run into different variations of your rumor or myth. Be sure to record at least five other variations of your rumor or myth.
      • Mapping it out:
        • Create a diagram or graph that shows the relationship between your rumor or myth, its source, and the variations of the rumor/myth.
          • ELL: provide another means of expression such as:
            • Create a video
            • Draw pictures instead of writing words
            • Pair ELL student with a student leader/someone else who is good at explaining things.
          • LD: Provide a map for LD student to fill out. Depending on the severity of the disability, have one or two “variations” filled in already.
  • Explain and Elaborate
    • Gallery Walk: Take a gallery walk to study and admire the work of other students.
      • Students should each have three post-it notes. They need to provide feedback or ask meaningful questions about three of their classmate’s maps. They should write their feedback/meaningful question on the post-it note and place it either on or next to the student’s map.
    • Discussion (5-7 minutes)
      • What did you learn while tracing a rumor back to its source? Was it easy or hard?
      • Could you find five variations?
      • How do rumors and myths spread?
      • Why do you think people believed these rumors and myths?
      • What effects did your rumor have on a community?
        • Where they good effects or bad effects?
  • Explore
    • For your final project, I want you to produce a creative informational video, 3-4 minutes long.
    • What I’m looking for:
      • Evidence based on the plague
      • How quickly rumors spread
      • Talk about different ways a rumor can affect five different people groups in a community.
      • Call to Action!! What can we do to stop rumors from spreading?
        • For this, you’ll need to put together everything you have learned and know about rumors. What do you think is the best strategy for stopping rumors?
        • ELL: allow them to act out their strategy for stopping rumors
        • LD: Provide a script for how to stop rumors and myths. They must do their best to act it out.
  • Evaluate
    • Watch peer’s videos in class.
    • Class Evaluation: provide meaningful feedback
      • One thing you think worked
      • One thing you think didn’t work

(Note: emphasize the “worked” and “didn’t work” as opposed to “liked” and “disliked”. It requires students to support their ideas and eliminates any ambiguity that could be potentially found in pure opinions)

  • Exit Slip: Tell me about a rumor that ended up hurting you and how it could have been prevented.


Resources Included:


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