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Diseases and epidemics

Disease - the long battle against smallpox

Educational objective

Students will gain an understanding of the fight against disease and the different methods people have used, in particular with regard to smallpox.

Classroom activity

Students should research all aspects of smallpox featured on the Brought to Life website, in particular within the Disease theme.

Based on the information they gather, ask your students to represent pictorially the history and eventual decline of smallpox, i.e. as a comic strip or photo story. Within this they should include early evidence of smallpox, the different symptoms, the various efforts to prevent the spread of the disease over the years, and the eventual development of the smallpox vaccination.

Extension activity

Do the same exercise with malaria or polio and compare the different stories of the diseases.

Curriculum links

  • The battle against disease
  • Inoculation and vaccination
  •  

    Disease - various vaccinations

    Educational objective

    Students will gain an understanding of the process that medical practitioners went through and the objections against the development of vaccinations.

    Classroom activity

    Students should research all aspects of the development of inoculation and vaccination featured on the Brought to Life website.

    Split the class into pairs. Each pair should then decide amongst themselves who is going to be the interviewer and who will be the person who worked on inoculations and vaccinations, e.g. Jenner or Mather. The person who is the interviewer should research the topic and decide what questions he or she would put to the interviewee to find out more about the process and experience he or she went through. The other person should research the practitioner in question. To find out more about Mather’s work, see Onesimus in the People section.

    Simulate a television interview with each pair acting out the scenario within their defined roles.

    Extension activity

    The whole class could research a different individual and each week the rest of the class could interview one of the key figures in the history of medicine.

    Curriculum links

  • The fight against disease
  • Inoculation and vaccination
  • Edward Jenner
  • Cotton Mather