The Black Death during The Middle Ages

The Black Death during The Middle Ages

I can explain the cause of the Black Death Plague and how it spread.

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The Black Death during The Middle Ages

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Students learn about The Black Death of the Middle Ages with this lesson which explains its cause and its impact on society. Students learn what people of the Middle Ages believed and how they tried to cure the disease. They also learn about the progression of symptoms and how it finally came to an end with the research of scientists like Alexandre Yersin.

Common core standards


Learning Objective

Students will be able to explain how the Black Death began in Medieval Europe and describe its symptoms.


The lesson begins by asking students if they or someone they know has been sick with a cold or flu. They discuss how and where they think they caught the sickness. After this, introduce the Black Death Plague which began in 1347 and usually took victims’ lives in 5-7 days. Students read a primary source of a person living during this time. Ask students to think about how people must have felt during this time.


After reading the primary source, explain the possible causes of the Black Death. Students then observe a diagram of how the Black Death spread from a flea to humans. Check student understanding by having students drag to show the steps of how the disease spread in the correct order. Next, students view a map depicting the trade routes from China to Europe. They can choose a route and drag the ship to move from China to Europe. Explain that at the time, people had many incorrect theories about the cause of the Black Death, including earthquakes and even punishment from God. Next, students learn about the symptoms and how the disease progressed from a fever to the death of a victim. Explain how people in the Middle Ages did not understand diseases the way we do today. Doctors did not know how to stop it and so they had several unsuccessful ideas for cures including sitting by a fire and placing a toad on open sores.


Check student understanding with ten multiple-choice, fill-in, and true/false questions.


Students learn how the Black Death ended with the research of French biologist, Alexandre Yersin who traced the disease back to fleas carried by rats. Explain the positive outcomes of the disease including medical advances and knowledge of preventing and stopping the spread of disease, like improved hygiene and sanitation. Have students compare the Black Death to events happening in the world today. Finally, students review the attempted cured for the disease.

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