23rd January 2004 at 00:00
At KS2, give a selection of text sources from different periods and ask pupils to identify diseases at particular junctures in history.

Tuberculosis and cholera are culprits throughout history and are relatively easy to identify from contemporary records. At KS3, students might pursue a local investigation with their local archive looking at how tuberculosis was both friend and foe of the poor. It struck with terrible effect, but the spread of infection to the poor usually resulted in improved housing and health care. Local newspapers are usually an excellent way to trace the course and consequence of local outbreaks. Students taking the Medicine Through Time course for GCSE could focus on the contrasting attempts through time of attempts to control the disease. The article is particularly helpful in challenging the oft held notion that history is a continual story of progress and achievement. Nature often finds a way to stop humanity in its tracks.

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