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KS2: Vaccination

In this lesson, students use their reading comprehension and creative skills to answer questions on, and act out, the discovery of vaccinations by Edward Jenner.

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Learning objectives
All students will:
  • Understand that vaccines help prevent a range of infections
Most students will:
  • Understand that there are not vaccines for all infections
Background Information

Our immune system generally fights any harmful microbes that may enter our bodies. Another means of helping our immune system is through vaccinations. Vaccines are used to prevent rather than treat infection.

A vaccine can be made from weak or inactive versions of the same microbes that make us ill. In some cases, the vaccines are made from cells which are similar to, but not exact copies of, the microbe cells that make us ill. New Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines , like some of the COVID-19 vaccines, teach our cells how to make a protein, or piece of protein, to trigger an immune response inside our bodies. Through each of these mechanisms, an immune response is triggered in our bodies and produces antibodies. This is why all vaccines can protect us from getting infected with different diseases. While mRNA vaccines are newly available to the public, researchers have been investigating this for decades. All vaccines, no matter what disease it is for, goes through rigorous processes to ensure that they are safe and effective before being offered to the public.

In this lesson plan, students read the story of how Edward Jenner discovered vaccination and act out a role play of the discovery. They are also introduced to the concept of how vaccinations work and the difference they have made in our lives today.

Main activity:
  • Historic Heroes
Main Activity video
Extension activities:
  • Role Play
  • Vaccinations Quiz
Curriculum links


  • Health and prevention


  • Working scientifically
  • Living things and their habitats


  • Reading and comprehension
  • Spoken language
Supporting Materials
Teacher sheets
KS2 Vaccinations Teacher Guidance
Student worksheets
SW1 Historic Heroes Gap Fill Activity
SW2 Vaccinations Quiz
Student handouts
SH1 Historic Heroes Student Handout
SH2 The Discovery of Vaccinations Script