Look at this poster that appeared in a newspaper in 1918. Using your understanding of the reasons for social distancing, how relevant do you think this advice is today? Is there anything in the advice that is not highlighted today for controlling respiratory infections like influenza or Covid-19? 

 Look at photographs A, B and C on the ‘Dealing with outbreaks through the ages’ sheet. 

  • What do you see? What details stand out? 
  • What do you think is going on? What makes you say that? 
  • What does this make you wonder? What broader questions does this image raise for you? 
  • What is similar about the three images and your responses? What is different? 

A is from the Great Plague in London, 1665–66 (bodies being collected in the street).

B: is from the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, 2014–15 (a doctor being disinfected).

C: is from the Covid-19 outbreak in the USA, 2020 (health workers being trained to deal with an infected patient).

Use the Kiddle search engine to find out more about each of these epidemics. What was similar and what was different about them? Compare how people reacted to the situation, protected themselves, and reduced the spread of the disease. Share your research. 


Now look at photographs D, E and F. Draw a large picture of the person in each image.  

It can be as simple as a stick figure or something more complex. Using evidence from your research, answer the following questions. 

  • Head: What is this person thinking about their society? 
  • Eyes: What has this person seen? 
  • Mouth: What is this person saying? 
  • Ears: What has this person heard? 
  • Heart: What is this person feeling? What do they care about? 
  • Hands: What action has this person taken?
  • Stomach: What is this person worried about?
  • Feet: Has this person changed? Where might this person be going in the future? 

Compare your responses to each image (and to the responses of others, if you are in a group).

How are they similar? How are they different? Which questions do you find hard to answer?

What have you learned about people who have to deal with such outbreaks of disease?  

What can you learn for yourself in such situations?  

What have you learned about how to promote health and wellbeing? 

D: Plague doctor from Europe, 17th century.

E: Ebola doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019.

F: Covid-19 nurse, Niger, 2020.