Nellie Bly to Dr. Peter Bryce: 19th Century Asylum Reform

What kind of treatment could a patient expect in an asylum during the 1800's? The abusive and neglectful conditions in 19th century asylums are the focus of a lesson that examines the work of reformers Nellie Bly, Dorothea Dix, and Dr. Peter Bryce.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Flip the lesson to have individuals read their assigned chapters and respond to the reading questions out of class, saving class time for group discussion and preparation of a presentation of their findings
Classroom Considerations
  • The lesson assumes a protocol is in place for a safe and respectful discussion of controversial and highly-charged topics
  • The eight-page packet includes links to background information for instructors, a detailed plan, activities, and chapter-by-chapter reading questions for Ten Days in a Madhouse
  • While possible essay prompts are suggested, no scaffold for the essay assessment is included
Common Core