Lesson 2: Meet the Heroes

Students are introduced to scientists whose work contributed to vaccine development. The lesson focuses on the timeline of development and how scientists used the scientific method in their research. Teacher resources include an exclusive illustrated story about Edward Jenner, the scientist who developed the smallpox vaccine, and an online timeline about the history of vaccines. Students expand their learning with a party planning teaching strategy. In this activity, student groups develop a guest list of people who have influenced vaccine development. They research the “guests” to choose a guest of honor. Learning is reinforced through a class activity in which groups share their information to develop a timeline based on their guests’ accomplishments.

Grades: 3 to 5
DOK: 1 to 2
Time: Up to two 45-minute sessions

Lesson Questions

  • What is the history of the first scientifically recorded administration of a vaccine?
  • Who have been the leading people to develop vaccines?
  • How is the scientific method used in the development of vaccines?

Teacher Instructions

Here you will find your lesson plan, which outlines standards, describes activities, and provides answer key.

Teacher’s Guide

Student Files

This document can be reproduced in whole or in part to guide students through the lesson.

Student Worksheet

Lesson Resources

The Story of Edward Jenner

Learn more about Edward Jenner, the scientist who received help from a cow, a milkmaid and a boy.

Download PDF

Vaccine Heroes

Scroll through hero profiles and find out more about what makes these individuals vaccine heroes.

Meet the Heroes

The History of Vaccines

Visit this award-winning informational and educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

View the website