Resources needed:

  • Pictures of Florence Nightingale (ordinarily dressed and in nurses’ uniform)
  • Picture of Scutari/modern day hospital
  • Whiteboards and pens


  1. Show a picture of Florence Nightingale (using Google Images or similar) and establish with the children the ear in which she lived, based on what they can see (i.e. how she is dressed, a black and white picture etc.).
  2. Now show a second picture of her in her nurses’ uniform and perhaps carrying the lamp. What do the children think she did for a job?
  3. Give some brief historical details – when she lived, how her family disapproved of what she wanted to do and so on.

Teaching point: to emphasis the disapproval, the children could have a think about things they may have done which their parents disapproved of.

  1. Give each pair of children a picture of the old Barrack Hospital at Scutari. At the same time, give each pair a picture of a modern hospital. Now ask them to talk about all the similarities and differences they can see and share these as a class.
  2. Watch the video of Florence’s life at and, whilst it is playing, ask the children to note down key words and phrases about her life. Collate these as a class once the video has finished playing. You may also want to make notes as it plays in order to fill any gaps in what the children have noticed.


Further Activities:

Ask the children to further research Florence’s life at home by using secondary sources. They could also talk to people at home to see what they know.

Make a simple lantern using card and tissue paper and hang them up on a string to remind the children of ‘The Lady with the Lamp’.

Write a simple acrostic poem using ‘FLORENCE’

Copy the pictures previously used of Florence in a wide range of media: chalks, pastels, paints, pencil crayons etc.


Curriculum Areas covered:

The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
  • Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed

Pupils should be taught about:

  • The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell]