At GCSE this activity can be used to introduce the topic of public health or medieval medicine as a whole as it sets out conflicting evidence about attitudes to health and public health. This makes a good introduction because it is important that students understand that there were major efforts to improve health and the rationality of widely-held ideas about the cause of disease. Having a positive image of medieval people’s attitudes then means students have to think harder to understand why they could not tackle diseases effectively – rather than just assuming that people ‘back then’ just weren’t bright enough to do so.
This activity can also be used at Key Stage 3 if you are not teaching ‘Medicine’ at GCSE. At KS3 it can be used to build students respect for people in the period rather than see them as helpless and hapless victims of plague – an image than can be fostered if work on the Black Death focusses only on the horror and death toll of ‘the pestilence’.
See the activity HERE …