A useful exercise
here would be to talk about the progress that has been made
over many centuries in understanding the link between disease
and hygiene. A book entitled 'Clean & Decent' is a useful
handbook for the teacher on the subject of the development
of baths and lavatories. Project work with drawings could
be undertaken. Older family members will no doubt supply graphic
Some simple science
on the subject of diseases caused by bacteria could be introduced.
A book entitled 'Horrible Bugs' provides a humorous approach,
and should be on sale in the shop. Others can be obtained
from libraries as the teacher considers suitable. Video information
may be available to schools with the appropriate equipment.
Group work might be a useful approach, with small groups working
on topics such as: Black Rats and Brown Rats. Rubbish disposal,
past and present.
A history of baths
and / or lavatories (Grandparents will have some memories).
Going to the doctor, then and now. Horrid habits, particularly
in wartime. The whole class could be given some hints that,
in spite of the progress made, we are not perfect. They may
already know enough to suggest that pollution of different
kinds is a present-day problem that could kill nearly as many
people as the plagues of old.
Take CARE that
information given to classes is accurate and adapted to the
understanding of the pupils. They enjoy ghoulish details,
but can frighten themselves and each other and spread unneccessary
alarm. Select your material with discretion and be reassuring.
No one is going to die of plague, or anything else, because
a pet picks up a flea!
Roman Baths may
be a good topic to enliven a history lesson about the Roman
Empire, which did, in fact, spread its influence into Derbyshire
and the lead mining district of which Eyam is a part. Buxton
is only a few miles away, and has connections with Roman baths
and medicinal springs. Information on this town, and on other
Roman antiquities in the area, is easily available from the
town's Tourist Office - telephone 01298 25106. The way in
which fighting soldiers spread the infection by catapulting
plague-ridden corpses amongst the enemy will have captured
the young imagination. Compare this episode with the story
of the Trojan Horse, or that of the English prisoners of war
who used a vaulting horse to cloak their escape plans from
the Germans, which someones Grandad may remember. This could
provide a basis for subsequent dramatic or written work, or
perhaps a poem.
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