History KS3 / GCSE: Pasteur and Koch

An engaging animated summary of the work of pioneers, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, outlining how their national feud lead to great medical advancements.

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

Utilising authentic archival illustrations and images the battle to prove where disease comes from is brought to life, centering on the emergence of germ theory; an essential part of the syllabus.

It explores the intensification of their intellectual battle within the context of the Franco-Prussian war and sees how each one’s research and experimentation fed the others.

Seen alongside their British proponents; Tyndall, Roberts and Cheyne, the film centres on the importance of their legacy in understanding bacteria, and being able to treat disease more effectively today.

This is from the series: Medicine through time

Teacher Notes

This could be used to ask pupils why the emergence of germ theory was such an important turning point in the fight against disease.

They could investigate this new understanding of bacteria within the context of the Franco-Prussian war and look at why this meant there was enough funding for scientists to develop their ideas quickly.

Pupils could discuss how Pasteur and Koch’s work was hugely influential in Britain.

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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