Imagine yourself living in 1980, watching the news, and hearing stories of horrible and strange illnesses killing men in San Francisco and New York. The disease spreads across the country to women, children, and newborns. A disease eventually known only by those large frightening letters: A.I.D.S.

Imagine hearing doctors say they have no idea what the disease is or what causes idea how people get it or how not to get it...that sometimes people are dying from the disease and don't even know...that maybe you can get it if you are bitten by a mosquito...or if you share a straw with someone who is sick...or by going to the doctor's office... or from sitting on a toilet seat...or being next to a sick person on a bus, or at school, or at the mall. Imagine how scary your world would be. What started as a mystery in the big cities, suddenly grew into epidemic that touched every type of town and every type of person, old and young. And the worst part - no one knew what it was...not even the doctors. The public was nervous, scared, and going crazy. The victims were treated terribly and discriminated against, fired from jobs, and thrown out of schools.
This was life in the 1980's.

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Now, imagine you are an accomplished medical researcher at the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scrambling to find this disease, solve this puzzle, and stop the spread of AIDS...with no support from the government... and no prior knowledge to draw on. A good researcher uses clues and commonalities to help uncover the links between the cause and the disease. But how could you investigate a disease that you cannot find?

Your Task:
You will research AIDS in order to gain a sense of the mystery, history and evolution of the AIDS epidemic. Just as the initial researchers had to put the pieces of the AIDS puzzle together; you will piece together information about AIDS and create a paper or mixed media quilt to display your new knowledge. You will also compose an essay reflecting on the meaning of the quilt metaphor and the meaning this project has had for you. You will be given packets containing outlines for note taking and hand those in as well.


The Process:
You and a partner will gather information from websites, books, and audio-visual records.

Each student will turn in the following items for grading:

1) a chronology (time line) of the epidemic - in Science CBL
2) outlining the science and history of AIDS - in Science CBL
3) a reflective essay about the meaning of the AIDS quilt and the impact this project has made on you - in English CBL
4) a paper quilt, according to specifications - in Reading CBL

You will visit only the websites listed in the RESOURCE section. You do not need to visit every web site to obtain sufficient information, but you must cite the site from which you have obtained your information (there is space provided on your worksheet).

You will not copy and paste. All notes must be neatly handwritten on the packets provided. Do not lose your packets!

You will be given sufficient computer time in school to visit these websites, however feel free to do some of this work from your home computer.



General Information:
1. In Their Own Words. NIH Researchers Recall The Early Years:
2. is a website devoted to AIDS awareness education.
3. Centers for Disease Control. Search AIDS
4. PebMed:
5. is a government based resource for AID/HIV.


1. A Brief History of AIDS:
2. AIDS Project: Los Angeles:

Living with HIV/AIDS:
1. Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma on her experiences of having HIV back in the 1980s. Click on Listen Now.

Aids Quilt:
1. View samples of the AIDS Quilt, directions for creating and submitting a panel, and student resources. Click "About" and browse the topics that come up for detailed information.
3. Sample quilt projects: Sample quilt projects sample page #2

Prominent Person:
1. Ryan White: Interview with Ryan, his family, neighbors, family, school.

2. Magic Johnson:
*USA Today Interview.
*PBS Interview Video:

3. Rock Hudson, Actor.

4. Jerry Smith, Tight-end, Washington Redskins.

*LA Times: Jerry Smith Battling AIDS:
*Chicago Tribune: The Courage of Jerry Smith

Project adapted from: