STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Understanding the Black Death Lesson Plan Central Historical Question: How did people in the 14 th century understand the Black Death? Materials: • Understanding the Black Death PowerPoint • Documents A-B • Graphic Organizer • Graphic Organizer with Possible Responses • Final Questions Plan of Instruction: 1) Introduction: Use PowerPoint to establish background information on the bubonic plague of the 14 th century. a. Slide 2: The Black Death • The bubonic plague decimated large populations around parts of the world between the 1330s and 1350s. • Although there is continued debate about the origins of the plague, many scientists and historians today believe the plague resulted from the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which is common in fleas and carried by rodents. • Once the bacteria jumped to humans, it became highly contagious. • Symptoms of bubonic plague include: fever, gangrene, chills, cramps, seizures, and painful swelling of the lymph glands called buboes. • Most people who contracted the plague died within days. • At the time of the pandemic, it was called the “Great Pestilence,” the “Great Plague,” or the “Great Mortality.” The term the “Black Death” came into popularity among German- and English- speakers in the 19 th century and continues to be used today. b. Slide 3: Spread of the Plague • The plague likely originated in China in the 1330s. • It traveled west along trade routes both by land and sea in the 1340s. c. Slide 4: Human Costs • The plague was a pandemic. It killed between 75 and 200 million people across three different continents. • Death rates included approximately one-third of the population in the Middle East and nearly one-half of the population in Europe. d. Slide 5: Understanding and Explaining the Plague • People in the 14 th century had little knowledge of how the plague originated, how it spread, or how to treat it.
STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu • Across the world, people struggled to make sense of the pandemic. To give just one example, flagellation, a religious practice of whipping oneself for penance, grew in popularity during the Black Death. e. Slide 6: Central Historical Question • Today we are going to analyze and compare two different documents created during the Black Death to try and figure out: How did people in the 14 th century understand the Black Death? 2) Pass out Document A and Graphic Organizer.
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- Spring '16