Footprints of Faith

Walks for schools through culture, history and belief in Cambridge

Science Walk (KS2) – Stop 3: Gonville and Caius College

At each stop on the walk there will be a story and an activity. Resources for these can be picked up at the Round Church at the start of the walk. These will include a teacher’s booklet (containing a set of maps, useful phone numbers and contact details, information about loos and picnic/snack points); instructions for the stories and activities; a set of resource cards displaying relevant images; a set of artefacts. However, copies of worksheets for children to use during the walk need to be downloaded and printed off at school and brought with you.

Stop 1 | Stop 2 | Stop 3 | Stop 4 | Stop 5 


Story Three:
William Harvey (1578–1617) 

­• Stand on the pavement opposite Caius College, just beside Michaelhouse

This is Stephen Hawking’s college.

• Show the picture of Stephen Hawking – Resource card G

Has anyone heard of him or even seen him?

He spends a lot of time thinking about huge things, like how the universe works. He showed the world some of his ideas in the Paralympic Games opening ceremony!

We are going to hear about someone who was very interested in little details, but who was just as important for science. They have both seen how important it is to try to understand how things work.

• Point out the statue of William Harvey (on the corner of the shop to the left of Michaelhouse)

This is a man called William Harvey.

What do you think his job is?

What is he holding?

(a heart!)

• Point out the bust of Harvey above and to the left of the entrance to the college

I wonder why there are two statues of William Harvey? Was he such an important man that he needed more than one?

• Go into the Michaelhouse chapel (through the café) or Great St Mary’s church to tell the story of William Harvey

William was another Cambridge student who became a royal doctor [like William Gilbert – Stop 1]. This is what he looked like:

• Show the portrait of Harvey – Resource Card H

He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, so he would have spent a lot of time wearing one of these:

• Hold up the blood-stained apron – Artefact 8

Who would like to model it for us?

As well as being a student at Cambridge, William went to Padua in Italy to study anatomy – how the body works.. Whilst he was there he learnt that the most important thing was to look carefully at the human body to see how it worked. He helped in operations and saw people being cut up, so he could actually see what went on inside their bodies. He made very detailed drawings of what he saw, so he could remember and try to work out what was going on.

• Show anatomical drawing – Resource card I

When he came back to England he got a job as doctor to King James I and then King Charles I. But in his spare time he liked to do scientific experiments. He was really interested in blood!

The old medical textbooks said that the two kinds of blood vessels, the veins and the arteries, were completely different. People believed that the blood in the arteries was made by the heart and the blood in the veins was made by the liver. William Harvey didn’t think this was right. He had looked carefully, and he thought that the veins and arteries were connected. He knew that he needed to test his ideas, so he did experiments on animals, and even on people. He worked out that the heart pumps the blood, and it moves round the whole body in a circuit. He realised that the blood moves through the arteries away from the heart and then travels through the veins back into the heart. He looked closely and saw that the veins have little valves to stop the blood going backwards. William didn’t have a microscope strong enough, but he guessed that there were lots of little blood vessels he couldn’t see. He was right, and now we can see them we call them capillaries.

• Show the paperback copy of Harvey’s book – Artefact 9

William wrote a book about his ideas and experiments, called “On the movement of the heart and blood”. You can see one of his diagrams on the front cover. The original book contained careful and detailed drawings to explain his ideas.

It took a little while, but eventually William’s theories spread all over the world, and changed the way people thought about medicine and how the body works. Nothing would be the same again – accurate observation and experimentation were the way forward! Harvey originally wrote in Latin, but this copy is in English because people are still interested in reading it.

All through his life William took time to watch carefully and think about what he saw. Even in his spare time when he wasn’t working, he loved to sit quietly outside and watch birds. He saw the blood moving round the body, and thought about God moving through the world. When he looked at all the different species of birds, and how perfectly the bodies of animals worked, he praised God for the wonderful world He had made.

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Activity Three:
Observational Drawing

Sit quietly and look at your wrist and hand. Wiggle your fingers to see how they move. There are 27 bones in your hand, and 15 joints! Turn your hand over and look at the other side.

How many little lines can you see?

Can you see any blood vessels?

Draw what you can see in as much detail as possible. Put in all the little lines, and see how many blood vessels you can draw in. Do a drawing for each side of your hand – one on each side of the activity sheet. Try to make your drawings as accurate as possible. Take time to really look!

Background information for teachers


Stop 1 | Stop 2 | Stop 3 | Stop 4 | Stop 5 

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