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KS4 History Lesson Plan – The Importance of the Alexander Fleming’s Discovery of Penicillin

Key Stage



Years 10-11


Ensure students have a deep understanding of Alexander Fleming’s discovery, using a ‘passionately boring’ approach.

I am known online as ‘The Passionately Boring Teacher’, and my lessons reflect this. Most follow a general and well-known formula: I present new knowledge, I check that knowledge with a quiz or whiteboard work and then students practise applying what they’ve learned.

It surprises me that pupils often say that my lessons are ‘fun’. I believe that this is because, in being fairly formulaic and based around over-learning, this style of lesson focuses on pupils being successful; and in my mind, success is the root of fun.

Why teach this?

This lesson gives pupils the chance to demonstrate nuanced analysis and evaluation of the discovery of penicillin, while also making links with other topics within the ‘Britain, Health and the People’ unit, different time periods, and issues with medicine in the modern day.

Key curriculum links

This topic is usually taught towards the end of the AQA GCSE unit on Britain, Health and the People.

Becky Sayers is head of humanities in a 11-16 secondary school in Wiltshire. You can find her at and follow her on Twitter at @MissSayers1.

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