This activity, by Andy Harmsworth, helps students to get to grips with the surgery strand of SHP’s development study of medicine. You and your students carry out a short classroom simulation of a surgical operation at the beginning of the 19 th century. The activity is used after studying the development of surgery before 1800. It provides a lively and memorable introduction to a series of lessons on the development of modern surgery. Specifically, the activity and follow-up discussion help pupils to understand:
- the main features of surgical operations in about 1800
- why surgery was so dangerous at the time
- that surgeons were concerned about their patients’ welfare
- why surgeons in 1800 were able to do so little to deal with the problems of pain, infection and blood loss
- how much progress has taken place in surgery in the last 200 years
Simulations can be a highly effective way of engaging interest, developing understanding, generating questions and aiding longer-term recall by presenting information in a lively, entertaining and dramatic way. Have fun!