The theme for today’s lesson is body snatching. This is always a fun and interesting lesson because the pupils tend to enjoy the more gory and macabre topics, yet they come away with knowledge of the role of the body in the evolution of medical practice in the 18 and 19th century, insight into the role of the Anatomy Acts, and an understanding of disposal of the body from a sanitation and moral standpoint in history.
This teaches the pupils about how graveyards became sites of commercial opportunity, as well as conflict as private security, members of the militia and traps, were employed to catch the resurrectionists in the act of stealing the dead to be sold for medical exploration and experimentation.
This lesson also considers the history of medicine as well as then moving on to describe the murders committed by Burke and Hare in 1831.
Last week the project returned to a Glasgow school to again teach a series of lessons focused on engaging with Health History. As always the first lesson was somewhat uncertain as the abilities of the pupils need to be assessed in line with the resources and the topics. But the students responded excellently to the lesson and became keenly involved with many of the exercises. Pox, Pus and Plague- 2018
This year two smaller classes have been combined to fill the classroom which means this is highest number of students that have been taught at one time during the beginning of the programme. The majority of the lesson was led by Simon Walker and supported by Dr. Emma Newlands.
Simon began the lesson by covering what the following lessons would include and then opening the discussion for the class to find out what they knew about diseases. Hands shot up around the room as the pupils named diseases such as flu, cholera, malaria and even smallpox.
Some of the pupils could describe in detail how smallpox was now eradicated and the effects it could have on the body. Their knowledge of the topic began more apparent as they also explained knowledge of Malaria, Cholera and Typhoid with one pupil being able to explain what a protozoa was and how it related to Malaria.
This short teaching section was followed by the Match the Disease exercise above which the students responded to excellently as most of them managed to match the disease to the symptoms. During this time Dr Newlands and Simon talked to the students in groups and answered individual questions that they had about diseases and epidemiology.
Next Simon took the students on a whistle-stop tour of the history of Smallpox, Cholera, Plague and Malaria as the students contributed to the information and raised their hands for questions. As always the story of the Soldier who drowned in Smallpox Pus received the equal measures of groans and fascination and the focus on Glasgow being at the centre of a Cholera epidemic in 1832 was something the pupils found very interesting.
Instead of the Plague Source Analysis which we used last year, this year we returned to the more varied historical sources which included a poster for malaria, a cartoon for smallpox, a map for cholera and a picture for the plague. This was designed to give the students more variety as last year they had been specifically focusing on plague so the lesson was rewritten to tie in with the curriculum. The students found this a little more challenging but through group work and 1-2-1 discussion, many of them were very enthusiastic about the work.
Overall, this was a successful first lesson, although due to difficulties at the start it was late starting and there was not enough to time to complete the group work at the end. The pupils engaged well with the complex new topics and quickly adapted to higher level source analysis skills and historical reasoning. Many also expressed excitement about the next lesson which is focused on military medicine and we are very much looking forward to returning.
Welcome to the new Journeys Through Health History Website – the new site for all the resources, links, videos and audio sources, activities, events and images related to the University of Strathclyde History Department and the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare school engagement project with local Glasgow Schools.
This project has run for several years beginning originally as part of a MUSE scheme with a single school which culminated in the creation of a travelling exhibition designed and presented by school pupils. Over the last three years, this project has evolved into a bespoke secondary educational engagement programme complete with bespoke pedagogical resources and lesson plans designed to combine lessons created and given by specialists in key areas of history with the current high school curriculum. This has allowed pupils to learn and debate about topics such as military medicine, diseases in society, diet and food health as well as body snatching, oral history and memory, and drugs and alcohol.
Each lesson has been tailored to the ability of the pupils however care has also been taken to encourage students to express themselves and learn in more detail about lesser covered topics within a standard history lesson. Each session consists of a mix of presentation teaching, group and class exercises, individual source analysis and the incorporation of audio / visual sources.
As this site develops more resources will continue to be added to be used for teaching and non-profit engagement purposes. Each topic has an overview page located on the menu bar which includes additional resources such as articles, links, videos, sound files, images and exercise activities. There is also a detailed breakdown of each lesson, an example and resources.
We hope that you find the information useful and can incorporate it into your own teaching. We will also be regularly sharing on twitter and you can follow our feed @JTHealthHistory. Please also hit follow to subscribe to the website to be kept updated and click here to contact us directly.
Thank you for joining us on our Journeys Through Health History.
The Journeys Through Health History project is a joint venture between historians working in the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare at Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian Universities and local school teachers and archivists. Together we aim to impact upon the teaching and engaging with History, Geography and Modern Studies at S1 and S2 levels.
Keep an eye on this website as new resources will be added soon.