History KS3 / GCSE: 16th and 17th Century Medicine

An engaging animated summary of medical progress in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Using authentic archival illustrations and diagrams, this animation brings to life how the Renaissance brought on a fresh thirst for scientific enquiry.

Narrated by actor and impressionist Duncan Wisbey, the pace is quick and tone irreverent.

The film draws on the work of key figures of the time such as Ambroise Paré, William Harvey and George Thomson.

Looking at their work we see the critical advancements they made in our understanding of new treatments and the human body.

Key themes that directly affected progress during this period were new weapons on the battlefield, the Great Plague of 1664 and the circulation of new ideas through the invention of the printing press.

The summary clearly highlights successes of the period with new experimentation leading to a better understanding of the human body, but also the short-fallings; such as the failure of many people to accept these new ideas and ultimately these new discoveries not benefiting the wider population.

This is from the series: Medicine through time

Teacher Notes

This could be used to ask pupils to discuss the printing press as a catalyst for medical progression.

They could investigate the Plague, and how it illustrates how medicine did and did not change from the medieval period.

Pupils could discuss why was the medical Renaissance important, if it didn’t make anyone healthier?

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching KS3 and KS4/GCSE History in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 History in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, AQA, WJEC in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA Scotland.

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