A great way to introduce a new topic and to break the ice for pupils who don't know each other well is to hold a cocktail party.
Allocate each pupil a person who they will be learning about in the new topic, eg, Alexander Fleming and Florence Nightingale.
Have each pupil research that character for homework and encourage them to find propssimple costumes that link to their characters.
The next lesson is the party. As each character arrives at the party, give them a chart that they must complete as they meet other party guests.
For each guest they must find out their name, date of birth, family background, what they contributed to the history of medicine and links they may have to other characters at the party.
Acting as the waiter, the teacher circulates the room, ensuring everyone is on task and finding out information
Helen Towler teaches at Rye Oak School in London