Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teacher's Notes

Resource created by Thackray Medical Museum.

This learning story explores the history behind artificial hips and the pioneering work of a Leeds based prosthetic maker.

A Global View

In the same year as John Charnley began making prosthetic hips (1947), India gained independence from the British Empire and was partitioned into two states: India, with a Hindu majority, and Pakistan, with a Muslim majority. This led to mass migration, as millions fled to the other state to avoid living under control of a religion they did not follow. In America, President Truman announced the Truman Doctrine: the policy that US forces would support any state under threat from communist powers, which led to US military involvement in Korea and Vietnam over the next few decades. In the Netherlands, the first version of Anne Frank’s diary was published.


Curriculum Links

  • KS1 & 2 Design Technology
  • KS1 & 2 Science: Animals incl. humans, Materials, Forces
  • KS1 History: Significant local historical events, people and places
  • KS2 History: Theme extending knowledge beyond 1066

Activity Ideas

  • What joints can you move? Have a go at moving them! Do they just go in one direction or ALL directions?
  • Make your own ball and socket joints:
    • Tape paper tube "bones" to a ping pong ball.
    • Fit into sockets, or halved rubber balls, and cup shaped plastic moulds.
    • -Use cooking oil on the ball for cartilage to show a healthy hip and how easy it should be to move.
    • Put sandpaper in the socket to show an aging hip and how difficult it is to move in comparison.
  • Cushion Activity: How important is cartilage?
    • Use different depths of PE mat to show how just a little bit more cushioning can make a lot of difference!
    •  What happens if you jump on a really thin cushion on the floor?
    • You might hurt yourself because the cushion isn’t able to protect you as well. This is what can happen in older people’s joints.  When bones rub together they can cause pain and inflammation.
  • Find out more about how 3D printers are being used in health and medicine.
  • Research which foods are high in calcium and can help make bones stronger.  

Discussion Ideas

  • What other examples of limb replacements can you find out about?
  • How is advanced technology helping surgeons and patients get better today?
  • What are the health challenges of the future and what might some of the medical solutions be?