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Science and medicine

Science - history of medical science

Educational objective

Students will gain an appreciation of the life and work of some of the leading figures from the history of medicine.

Classroom activity - X-tremely Clever Factor

Get the students to use the Brought to Life website to research ten key figures who have made a significant contribution to the development of medical science. These might include Jenner, Lister, Paré, etc.

Divide the students into ten small groups, assigning one historical figure to each group. Now ask them to create a poster campaign for their chosen figure, so that later the whole class can vote on who has made the ‘best contribution to medical history’. The students should explain who their historical figure is and summarise his or her contribution to the history of medicine.

The whole class should then take a vote with the one rule being that they can not vote for their own historical figure.

Extension activities

Students could create a press release to accompany their poster. The press release should include the who, what, where, when and why of the significant contribution that was made by the chosen historical figure. Give brief details of the benefit this person’s work has brought to those who had the associated condition. Students could present their poster campaign to a jury of fellow students and ask them to vote on who they believe to be the most important figure from the history of medicine.

Curriculum links

  • The influence of science and technology on medicine
  • Key historical figures
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    Science - medical science

    Educational objective

    Students will gain an appreciation of the significant work of many of the leading figures from the history of medicine.

    Classroom activity - keywords

    Ask your students to use the Brought to Life website to research the history of a particular branch of science that has affected medicine. With this information they should create a crossword based on the last names of key figures associated with scientific developments in this field. Clues could be based on key searchable information about the people from the site, such as the year they were born, developments they were involved in or their contemporaries.

    These puzzles should then be swapped among students so that each will face a roughly equal challenge in completing one. The final task could be to work out the branch or theme of medical science that the key figures have in common, e.g. vaccination, hygiene, etc.

    Extension activity

    Students could create crosswords or other puzzles (you could show them examples from newspapers) based on key scientific developments within the timeline of medicine, e.g. the microscope, the Petri dish, the X-ray scanner, etc.

    Curriculum links

  • The influence of science and technology on medicine
  • Key historical figures