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Lesson Plan: Choosing a Study Design for the Polio Vaccine

Adam Molnar, Oklahoma State University

Overview of Lesson

This activity, based on real meetings during the 1954 Salk polio vaccine study, asks students to decide on an experimental design to test the polio vaccine. Students take one of multiple roles—such as statistician, parent, and government—that may lead to different design choices. Real-world study design involves balancing multiple interests; through small-group plan formation and large-group negotiation, students actively simulate the balancing process. After the discussion, students can compare their solution to the real-world decision and see results.

Download: PDF Lesson

Download: Supplemental Slides (Power Point)

Download: Background Information About Polio