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Why should we bother learning about the Black Death?

RatIs Freddie’s Mum right to complain – why bother with the Black Death?

Why do we teach the Black Death of 1348 and not any other outbreaks of the plague until 1665? Is it just because it is a good, gruesome story?

We think we teach it because it was a significant event in our history. But do we actually impart this to our students? If our students are going to be motivated to want to study history they really should know why they are learning topics in the curriculum: in this case because of its significance.

This enquiry begins with a parent’s complaint; why is her son studying the Black Death? What a waste of time! The students are asked to work out actually how significant the Black Death was before by responding to a parent’s complaint! Oh and there is no writing involved!

We are grateful to Tom Brixey, now Assistant Head at The Weald School for helping develop this enquiry.

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  • Lesson presentation incl audio: PowerPoint and MP3
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  • Resource Sheet: PDF
  • Resource Cards 1
  • Resource Cards 2

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