House: London


For over 100 years scientists have believed that the Medieval Black Death was the same disease as the modern Bubonic Plague. We're told it was spread by fleas on rats and is now easily controlled with anti-biotics. Today though there are those who doubt the two diseases are the same and how ready we are to deal with this ancient disease if it surfaces again.

Your task is to fill in your Investigation Journal as you explore the exhibits.


Time: 45 minutes

Materials: Video player, printed exhibits, Black Death (2010 DVD) - first 4 minutes

Investigation Journal

Exhibits (printable)


Begin the lesson by showing the intro video below. It can (and for best effect should) be followed by the first 4 minutes of the 2010 movie "The Black Death" with Sean Bean. Stop movie after the title Black Death appears.

Pass out the Investigation journal and Exhibit A to all students while the videos are playing. Read through Exhibit A as a class and explain the background of the investigation. After answering their journal questions on Exhibit A students visit the other exhibits and work on their journal. You may assign them to work in small groups or pairs but I find it works just as well to just give them free reign. The lab is engaging enough that students tend to focus fine on their own.

After approximately 20-25 minutes return them to their seats and show the video clip for exhibit H (available below.) Give students 5-10 minutes to complete the indictment page of their journal. Discuss conclusions as a class.

Intro Video



Exhibit H - Rats