Medicine through time

Medicine through time - content, activities and blog for teachers and learners of medicine through time

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Teachers resources

A range of teaching and learning ideas that I have written and used can be accessed through this blog.

Audio-visual materials that I have come across or use are listed on this page.

An interactive scheme of work for the Edexcel development study on Medicine through time can be accessed here.

General Resources and ideas

Medicine in the Movies. Blog post outlining some examples of medicine in movies, with suggestions about when and how they may be relevant.

Medicine in Film Archives. A quick run through of the medicine related clips that can be accessed via the British Pathe website.

Music in Lessons. A series of ideas for incorporating music into lessons.

Places to visit. As it says on the tin, a selection of sites that may be worth considering using for educational visits.

'Must have' resources. My thoughts on resources that help to enhance the delivery of the medicine through time course.

Writing a Scheme of work for medicine through time. A run through some of the ways of making a scheme of work engaging and effective.

Medicine on TV. A selection of TV clips that are worth using in lessons.

Ancient Egypt

Attitudes and beliefs about medicine in Ancient Egypt. Online source based lesson.

Change and Continuity in the Ancient World. Interactive resource that checks pupils understanding of change and continuity in the ancient world.

Ancient Greece

The Four Humours (MS Word). Information sheet with accompanying diagrams, sources and activities.

Background information sheet. (MS Word) A simple overview of the period which identifies key words and features.

Cult of Asclepious: decision making activity. (MS Word) Pupils make decisions about the type of treatment they would expect / want at an Asclepion. Designed to place the types of healing into context.

Summary sheet. (MS Word) Submitted to by Mr Welsh. A useful revision tool.

Ancient Rome

What was new in Roman medicine? (MS Word) Submitted to by Mr Welsh. an easy way of identifying continuities and changes in the ancient world.

An Interview with Galen. (MS Word) Submitted to by Mr Welsh. This resource models an interview with Galen which could then be used for a video recording of pupils to be used later on for revision.

Galen's influence (Online lesson, requires flash) External link to a very good online lesson hosted on

The change from supernatural to natural approaches to disease in the Ancient World and its impact on medicine before 1700. External link to a detailed revision booklet put together for the AQA specified topic.

The Middle Ages

Medicine in the Middle Ages. (MS Word) An overview sheet that pupils complete as part of a research lesson.

Medieval medicine simulation. This activity has more able pupils acting as doctors, physicians etc from a variety of backgrounds and the remainder of the class acting as patients. Each doctors diagnosis and recomended cure / remedy is noted then evaluated.

Information about the activity.(All files are MS Word) Resources for doctors. Resources for patients. Additional notes.

Black Death Bingo. (MS Word) A series of bingo cards for pupils to 'play' whilst watching this short video about the Black Death (.wmv file format)

The Black Death. Powerpoint and supporting worksheets provided by Aimed at Year 7 but adaptable for the GCSE course.

Islamic and Chinese Medicine

Mindmapping Islamic Medicine. (MS Word). This resource guides pupils through the process of creating a mind map.

Background information. (MS Word) A simple introduction to Islamic and Oriental medicine.

Changes and Developments in Islamic Medicine. (MS Word) A series of source based activities on the impact of Islamic medicine. This resource is supported by a prompt sheet designed to focus pupils on addressing the questions effectively. As a follow up exercise, pupils can then be asked to review the quality of answers in this document, and use these findings to peer or self review work.

How did Asian Medicine try to keep people healthy? Tasks. Teachers Notes. (Both links are to pdf files). External links to activities created and hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

Video by WorcesterJonny.  

The Renaissance

A case study of the 1665 Plague in London - online lesson.

Andreas Vesalius. (MS Word) Background information with a series of exam style questions. A version of this resource incorporating answers for pupils to evaluate can be downloaded from this link (MS Word).

The Great Plague. (MS Word) A data rich enquiry into the Great Plague. Makes use of newspaper reports, statistics and supplementary information to guide learners through a series of activities. A shorter variation of part of this activity is available here.

Medicine in the Renaissance. (MS Word) Detailed notes followed by a series of exam style questions. Useful as an end of unit assessment.

Great Plague research grid. (MS Word) This was submitted to some time ago. Its a handy tool to give to pupils if they are researching the Great Plague. Sadly I can't recall who submitted it - if anyone recognises it as being theirs, please let me know.

Renaissance timeline. (MS Word) I give this timeline to pupils at the start of their study of the Renaissance and ask them to add to it as they progress through their study of the period. It then acts as a handy reference point.

Renaissance Chart. (MS Word) A simple chart to record the factors and new technologies that led to a number of people making significant breakthroughs.

Renaissance Chart 2. (MS Word) A more complicated task than the previous chart. Here pupils look for factors, evidence of changing beliefs and practices and examples of continuity and change.

William Harvey. (MS Word) A series of activities about the factors that led to Harvey's breakthroughs. Accompanied by a prompt sheet.

How did people explain the plague – and how to avoid it – before they knew the real cause? Tasks [PDF 1.09MB] Teachers' notes [PDF 53KB] (Both links are to pdf files). External links to activities created and hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

Public Health

Medical problems in the 19th Century- online lesson.

Ideas about the cause of disease/What was the cause of the cholera outbreak in Soho in 1854?- online lesson.

Two lesson plans for a 'making a radio programme' enterprise challenge that I led a few years ago. The plans are highly detailed - I've left the little bits like 'collect in reply slips' etc but hopefully the ideas will be of use to someone. The simulation exercise noted in the plans can be downloaded as a separate file from here. The resulting radio broadcast can be downloaded from here. Lesson Plan 1. Lesson Plan 2.

A living timeline activity on factors relating to Public Health that I devised with a former colleague. Hosted on

Public Health and housing. (Online activities, external link) An excellent series of 5 source based activities created by the Manuscripts and specials collections team at the University of Nottingham.

Living conditions in Industrial towns. (Webquest, external link). A webquest that explores living conditions in the Industrial Revolution and asks pupils to evaluate the scale of the improvements. easily adaptable to suit different courses.

Public Health / Industrial Revolution. (Online activities, exteral link) A series of resources and online activities provided by Mr Walker on

Archives Alive - Cholera. Fantastic series of activities about Cholera that are an excellent example of how archive materials can be used effectively. Thanks to Mrs McDermott for the link.


How confident could people be of good care in 19th Century hospitals?- online lesson.

What was Florence Nightingale really like? Tasks. Teachers Notes. (Both links are to pdf files). External links to activities created and hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

The fight against infectious disease

How significant were Edward Jenner’s vaccinations in the prevention of disease?- online lesson.

What factors enabled the revolution in understanding about germs and vaccinations to take place? - online lesson.

How much did medicine change between 1750 and 1900?- online lesson.

Edward Jenner. (MS Word) A source based investigation into the manner of Jenner's successes.

Infectious Disease. (MS Word) An overview of the way in which infectious diseases and infections in general have been combatted. Includes classification activities and a matching activity.

Revision guide - the fight against infectious disease. External link to resources created as a revision guide for the AQA course (previously a specified topic). This is a link to a post in the history teachers discussion forum. The same thread on the forum contains other downloadable resources related to Germ Theory and infectious diseases.

Vaccination. A lesson plan with accompanying images and card sort produced by a member of the History Teachers Discussion Forum.

The revolution in surgery

Developments in Surgery. (MS Word) An introductory activity on surgery asking pupils to think about the problems faced by surgeons at the time and the methods of dealing with them that were available at the time.

Surgery in the 19th Century. (MS Powerpoint). Overview of developments in Surgical technique.

Why was Simpson experimenting with chemical anaesthetics in 1847? Tasks [PDF 372KB] Teachers' notes [PDF 52KB] (Both links are to pdf files). External links to activities created and hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

Simulating 19th century surgery. External link to an excellent active learning lesson devised by Andy Harmsworth.

Operation. External link to a flash based surgery simulation. Ideal as a starter activity.

The Twentieth Century

Why did life expectancy increase in the 20th Century?- online lesson.

How did the First World War help to bring progress in medical treatments?- online lesson.

Why was Gerhad Domagk awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1939? - online lesson.

Do scientific discoveries happen more by accident or design?- online lesson.

What changed when the NHS was established?/Why was the NHS established?- online lesson.

Why was the discovery of DNA a turning point in medicine?- online lesson.

How far and in what ways have science and technology contributed to medical advances in the 20th Century?- online lesson.

Alternative medicines: a real alternative to scientific medicine?- online lesson.

How much did medicine change between 1900 and the present day? - online lesson.

What factors brought improvements in children's heath in the 20th century? Tasks. Teachers Notes. (Both links are to pdf files). External links to activities created and hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

Misc Resources

Was taking medicine actually likely to make you more ill in the 19th Century?- online lesson.

Why were quacks successful? Tasks [PDF 408KB] Teachers' notes [PDF 51KB] (Both links are to pdf files). External links to activities created and hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

Medicine history - Teaching resources in a variety of formats to download from


Military medicine through time (Online lesson, requires flash) External link to the NOVA Science programme interactivity on the history of military medicine.

Starter Activities

Blockbusters - Public Health. (MS Word) Questions for use in a Blockbusters game.

Dingbats game - Key Individuals. (MS Word) Simple revision game that can be used as a starter activity or bell task.

Public Health - sequencing task. (MS Word). Simple sorting task.

Word Dominoes - The Fight against Infectious Disease. (MS Word)

Word dominoes - Factors and Individuals. (MS Word)

Word Dominoes - Public Health (MS Word)


Medical Monopoly. Based loosely on the board game. Includes a board and suggested rules, question set (mainly on medicine in the ancient world) and printable medical monopoly money.

What can the history of herbal cures tell us about the history of medicine? Tasks [PDF 377KB] Teachers' notes [PDF] (Both links are to pdf files). External links to activities created and hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

General Revision materials

Revision Booklet. (MS Word) A simple enough idea. Pupils complete biographies of key individuals in the history of medicine as homework activities over the course. This can then be used as part of their revision for the exams.

Sickopoly. External Link (MS Publisher file). A revision game by Mr Clarke, explained here.







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