Kids Listen Activity Podcast, Episode 13:
Unspookable Presents The Black Plague
On this episode of Unspookable, look back at The Black Plague and other historical pandemics to see how working together and trusting science can help in times of confusion. Recommended for middle graders ages 8+. Listen to the episode here.
After the episode, do the activities! Make a poster, put yourself in a rat's shoes (paws?), and more. Find the activities below.
Activity: Unspookable - The Black Plague
Have you ever imagined what it would have been like to live in a time like the one we described on this episode? We have too! That's part of the reason we make the show! So that we can get creative about how we understand and imagine the past and how it relates to us as people today. Here are a couple activities that ask you to put yourself in the shoes (or tiny feet!) of those who were alive in 1347.
1. Wash Your Hands!
Okay okay, not you. We know you're probably sick of people telling you to wash your hands. But at this point we know we need to do it well and often in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses that could make us sick. You know who didn't know about washing their hands? Pretty much ANYONE in 1347.
Imagine that you are trying to tell your friends and neighbors in 1347 how exactly they can help stop the spread of the black plague. Gather paper, pencils, markers, crayons, paint - anything that you would like to sketch with and create a poster that encourages things like handwashing, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, or anything that you do to stay healthy. It should definitely be eye catching - that will help people pay attention to your message.
Just in case you find it inspiring, here are some of the styles that people were drawing in medieval times (we know, these might seem...out there... to a modern audience but maybe they'll help you come up with some of your own ideas!)
2. Who, Me? - Rats Get A Bad Rep
For centuries of modern history it was widely believed that rats caused the Black Plague, that the disease grew in them and they transported it around by living on ships that stopped in different port cities and then infecting the other rats that lived there. While it is true that rats can be carriers of the plague causing bacteria, it's not their fault! It's actually the way the bacteria grow in humans that causes the illness - it did not grow in rats first.
Imagine you are a rat living in London in 1347. Write about what it's like to live there. Do you have a name? A family? What do you see every day? Did you come to London on a trading ship? How do you feel about the events in the city?
For a little extra...draw yourself! Don't worry about making a "realistic" rat. Maybe you're brightly colored or even have a costume? Tiny armor? A jetpack? What do you think would help you survive in the big city?