history of medicineSchools have been teaching this topic for over 35 years now. No matter how innovative the textbooks, we all need to use fresh approaches from time to time. The curriculum with its different, British, emphases gives us this opportunity. You’ll love the quality of the resources and the way they have been used in novel ways. Whole lessons are spent exploring a German painting showing surgery in 1890, working out whether Jenner and Fleming deserve their reputations and investigating who should appear on the front page of a medical textbook written in 1500.

Outstanding Lessons

top 10 history teaching
Teaching GCSE thematically: 10 approaches that really work

Now that all schools have to teach a thematic study I thought I’d share my experience of observing hundreds of…

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Medieval medicine
Teaching the History of Medicine

As you all know, the trick with teaching this course is to marry a strong contextual knowledge with an understanding…

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History of medicine
Fun anachronism-spotting activity set in 1796, for GCSE History of Medicine

Most anachronism activities used in schools are the rather naff ones put before Y7 pupils in an introduction to What…

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history of medicine
SMART TASK: History of medicine Renaissance physicians; Is the artist taking the piss?

In this short activity students are shown two contrasting images of a physician inspecting a patient’s urine. Students have to…

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Medieval medicine
SMART TASK: Medieval medicine. What can we work out from the picture?

A smart task based on an original idea from Lorna Hunter, of Swanmore Technology College. This deceptively simple example of…

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SMART TASK Revision: name your best squad

To help students remember who the key individuals were in the history of medicine, you might like to present them…

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Jenner’s ideas on vaccination
SMART TASK: Why was there so much opposition to Jenner’s ideas on vaccination in the 19th century?

This is a short, fun SMART task.  All the instructions are on the PowerPoint presentation.  Start with slide 2 which…

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SMART TASK Key Stage 4: GCSE SHP Medicine: 18th century surgery

This quick activity asks students to explore the detail in Rowlandson’s cartoon called ‘Amputation’.  They score one mark for each…

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Penicillin: From discovery to world-wide use? Who should take the credit?

Students have to divide a $100 million bequest to those people who did most to develop penicillin. But in what…

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19th century surgery
Changes in surgery; late 19th century: a puzzle. Can students use all the contextual clues to work out when it was painted?

This lesson was kindly provided by Barbara Seymour who trialled it when she was Head of History at John Hunt…

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Who mattered most in medieval medicine? Who would you have on your textbook front cover from 1500?

One way of getting students to think about change and continuity in medieval times is to show them textbooks that…

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Map of Snow's Broad Street pump
How did Snow make the breakthrough with cholera?

This lesson focuses on problem-solving. Instead of simply telling students how clever Snow was, or showing them a video explaining…

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Diagram of Four Humours
The impact of the theory of the four humours on medicine: the case of the three tadpoles!

This lesson was conceived, taught and evaluated by Simon Harrison, when he was an Advanced Skills Teacher, Swanmore Technology College…

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Jenner or Jesty?
Who deserves to be remembered as the inventor of vaccination: Jenner or Jesty?

During this enquiry students work in two teams one using textbooks and websites to put forward the traditional claim that…

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Andreas Vesalius
Vesalius’ claim to fame. Using the B.A.D formula to prepare for a BBC interview

The BBC is making a documentary on Renaissance medicine in which they have devoted two minutes to the work of…

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Prehistoric Medicine: Getting your GCSE course off to a great start

This lesson was taught by Mike Herrity when Head of History at Wildern School, Hedge End, near Southampton. On an…

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renaissance medicine
SMART TASK: GCSE questions on Renaissance Medicine

Using Zones of relevance to answer two possible questions on Renaissance Medicine. Have you ever despaired of GCSE history students…

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