Sense of period – summing up an era in a 100 words

More sense of period ranting.

To help my students gain a sense of period and chronology for their Medicine through Time studies I have nicked an idea from Dale Banham via Ian Dawson.

On the Thinking History website Ian builds on an idea from Dale Banham of summing up a decade, period or era in less than 200 words. The challenge is to produce a word picture. This is not about producing a descriptive piece of writing and does not need to include full sentences but is an accumulation of keywords and phrases. The full article is linked below:

I love this idea and Ian’s 1960s piece so I decided I would steal this to use with Year 10. I often feel that the Medicine course is a rush through events and students fail to actually pick up any sense of period and chronology, hence me focusing on this this year.  So for each period we have covered I have got students to summarise the period into 100 words or less (I wanted it to be even more concise than Ian’s piece). This has two benefits. One their sense of period is increasing and as a result their explanations and contextual understanding of medical developments is better, for example everyone understood the natural / supernatural divide of an Asclepion this year. Secondly this gets the kids to consolidate knowledge and pick out those key terms they will need to use in an exam to show off to an examiner.

Anyway rather than me explain it I thought I would share some of the kids work.

The Egyptians in less than 100 words:

Egyptians. Real civilisations, not like prehistoric man. The Nile River at the heart of it all. Pyramids and pharaohs, a hierarchy to show who’s on top and who’s not. The sphinx and mummies wrapped in cloth. Medicine is advancing, but still caused by spirits and gods and supernatural forces, apparently. Organs preserved in canopic jars. Things being written down for the first time with hieroglyphics, passed on to the next generation and the one after that. Knowledge isn’t lost. They knew where the organs were (some of them, at least) but not what they did. Egyptian doctors said that ‘channels’ in the body carried blood, air water around. Just like the Nile. Your channels get blocked, you get ill. Apparently. Simple yet often effective surgery. Sort-of ‘hospitals’, with baths and a place to give thanks to the Gods. Not too bad for 3000 BC.

The Greeks in less than 100 words

Example 1: Alexander sits proudly astride Bucephalus, proud at making an Empire: Greece. On Mount Olympus the gods begin to roam, causing havoc in the world below. Mathematicians. Philosophers. Doctros. Exploring the world. Whislt Athens promotes democracy in the hustle of the city, Spartan soldiers shields glint in sunlight as Greece prepares for war. Hippocrates writes peacefully in his airy study. Summer is here, one must keep cool. Archimedes plays with triangles whilst Socrates questions the meaning of life. Atheletes run in the Olympic games, wishing and hoping for that incredible prize. The Acropolis stands proud in Ancient Greece.

Example 2: Started approximately 5000BC, as warring city states. Like little countries. Great Alexander expanded the empire. Deomcracy. Had culture. Entertainment. Theatre. Althletics. Olympics. Paintings. Scultpure. Obsessed with the body. Loved war. Had metal armouor. Good tactics. Temple. Great architecture. Philosophers. Wanted answers. Had doctors who kept records. Thanks to Hippocrates loads of books. Oath. Observing and recording. Natural cures. Causes of disease. Four humours. Yellow bile. Black bile. Phlegm. Blood. Imbalance = disease. Cures = purge if excess of yellow bile etc. Asclepions. God’s temple. Thought gods healed them. Was priests. Still performed surgery. With metal and iron tools. Ended in 100 BC.

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1 Response to Sense of period – summing up an era in a 100 words

  1. Pingback: Further adventures with sense of period… | The Kenradical School of History

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