Medicine through time

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

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Revision activities for GCSE History: Medicine through time

This page intends to identify online revision materials hosted on this site and elsewhere for pupils to use as they progress through the course. It also provides a series of links to activities that have been tried and tested in the classroom. Some of these will be useful for pupils to use in revision but are perhaps more useful for teachers, parents or carers. The content areas are taken from the Edexcel SHP specification. At present I have not included the depth studies on surgery and / or Public Health.

Video clips that are handy for revision purposes are listed on this page.

A series of review questions and quizzes can be found on this site.

Hundreds of interactive quizzes on all topics can be found on the Winkers World Website. Too numerous to include in the table below!

Content area Interactive activities Classroom based activities and resources
Overview of medicine and treatment c1350 to present day
Medicine Living Timeline (pdf) All the cards that you need for the key dates and factors in the History of Medicine to create a Living Timeline - you may need some string to show how some factors stretched over a long period of time. External link to

Medicine - 12 key people (pdf) This is a series of revision cards that can be cut and pasted into a revision poster based on the key events in the Medicine course. External link to

An A to Z of deadly diseases. An overview of the way that scientists have attempted to tackle diseases over time.

What were your chances of a long life if you were born in 1350?

How far did medical ideas from the Ancient World continue to be used in the Middle Ages?


Change and continuity in the Ancient World - can be used as an introduction with pupils then asked to predict what changes and continuities they would expect to see as we move into the Medieval period. From

Big Brother meets History of Medicine: Debating Significance - can be adapted to consider the longevity of the ideas of each individual and their impact on medieval medicine. From

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

If you're looking for more in depth discussion about Early Medicine, have a look at the Early Medicine Group webpage on the UCL website. Plague Doctor - original artwork by Conor Boyle
Ideas about the cause of disease: the importance of the supernatural and the search for natural explanation of illness

Medieval Knowledge about the body and disease.

Medieval methods of diagnosis and treatment.

Medieval doctors.

Medicine in the Middle Ages. Notes and self test.

Four Humours made simple. A simple but effective active learning exercise that makes the theory of the four humours easy to understand. From

Meet Oswald of Ormskirk, Medieval Physician - a script for a teacher led run through of medical practices at the time. From

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

Medical ideas and practices at the time of the Black Death and the influence of religion/What did people believe caused the Black Death?

Interactive diagram on Medieval Medicine.

Online lesson about the Black Death.

Interactive Diagram showing the spread of the disease. (Hosted on - requires membership, my students - ask if you've forgotten the username / password)

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 worksheets (pdf format).

Anatomical drawing by andreas Vesalius The Renaissance and early modern medicine. Surgical tools from the Renaissance era.
How much really changed in medical understanding in the Renaissance?

Interactive diagram on medicine in the Renaissance.

Online lesson about medicine in the Renaissance.

Understanding of the body and disease in the Renaissance.

Medicine in the Renaissance. Notes and self test.

Methods of diagnosis and treatment in the Renaissance.

Doctors in the Renaissance.

Fling the teacher quiz about anatomy and disease in the Renaissance.

Pare, Vesalius and Henri II - Report the big news of 1559; simulate the work of Pare and Vesalius as they struggle to save Henri II; identify key aspects of Renaissance Medicine. From

Pare - Why did it happen then? - Explore the reasons why Pare made his surgical breakthrough by creating a mobile factors web. From

Arteries, Veins and Capillaries – what Harvey couldn’t see! Use a tin of tomatoes to help students understand Harvey's discovery. From

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).

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

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.

A case study of the 1665 Plague in London
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.
Medical problems in the 19th Century

Medicine in the Industrial Revolution. Notes and self test.

Sickton. Visit this imaginary town in 1861 and see what conditions were like.

Ideas about the cause of disease/What was the cause of the cholera outbreak in Soho in 1854?   Archives Alive - Cholera. Use archive materials to see how Cholera spread.
How significant were Edward Jenner’s vaccinations in the prevention of disease?

Online lesson about Edward Jenner.

Edward Jenner and vaccination. Notes and self test.

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.

What factors enabled the revolution in understanding about germs and vaccinations to take place?

Interactive diagram on the reasons for Robert Koch's successes.

Interactive diagram on the importance of Germ Theory.

Online lesson about Louis Pasteur.

Online lesson about Robert Koch.

Fling the Teacher quiz about the fight against Infectious Disease.

Vaccination timeline. Flashcards produced by Dan Lyndon. They can be used in a living timeline exercise to reenforce the factors that led to the breakthroughs. External link to
How confident could people be of good care in 19th Century hospitals?

Interactive exercises on nursing and Florence Nightingale.

Doctors in the 19th century.

Was taking medicine actually likely to make you more ill in the 19th Century?
How much did medicine change between 1750 and 1900?

Interactive diagram on medicine in the 19th century.

Knowledge about the body and disease in the 19th century.

Why did life expectancy increase in the 20th Century?

Knowledge about the body and disease in the 20th century.

Interactive Diagram on the Welfare State.

Salvarsan – Guiding the Psychopathic Germ Killer. This activity explains simply, but powerfully, why Salvarsan was effective, but risky. Activity by Ian Luff. From
How did the First World War help to bring progress in medical treatments?

Interactive diagram on Blood Transfusions.

Military medicine through time. An interactive from PBS.

Battlefield Medicine. The History Channel (US) provides extensive notes to accompany their programme on battlefield medicine. Video clip provided.


Why was Gerhad Domagk awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1939?
Do scientific discoveries happen more by accident or design?

Online lesson about the discovery of penicillin.

Penicillin: the first antibiotic. Notes and self test.

The Penicillin Game (word) A snakes and ladders game to give pupils an overview of the development of Penicillin. External link to
What changed when the NHS was established?/Why was the NHS established?
Interactive exercises on the origins of the NHS.

National Health Service podcast (pdf) Create a podcast to celebrate the first anniversary of the National Health Service. Interview a pensioner about the improvements that have taken place. External link to

A Living Timeline of 20th C Healthcare (pdf) Students have to place the cards in chronological order and then work out the themes, before explaining which factor was the most important in improving medicine in the 20th C. External link to

Why was the discovery of DNA a turning point in medicine?

Interactive diagram on the discovery of DNA.

The Human Genome Project. Notes and self test.

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

Methods of diagnosis and treatment in the 20th century.

X-Rays and their uses. Notes and self test.

The development of modern medicine. Notes and self test.

Alternative medicines: a real alternative to scientific medicine?
How much did medicine change between 1900 and the present day?

Doctors in the 20th century.

Medicine in the twentieth century. Notes and self test.





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