Lesson Plan Two: Specialties

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Students will learn what a specialty is, receive some examples of the common medical specialties, and test their knowledge with a “guess the drawing” competition.

Additional activities include sharing the article of the week, visiting the Careers in Medicine® website, sharing the Inspiring Story of the week, journal writing, and assigning students to find an article to share at the next meeting.


  • Students will know that there are different kinds of doctors.
  • Students will be able to describe a few specialties in basic terms.


Facilitator: There are many different types of doctors, and they all have different areas in which they are experts. Some may study medicine in a broad and general way, like a doctor you may visit for a checkup. Others may focus on specific parts of the body or diseases. These areas of expertise are called “specialties.” To put it in other words, all teachers are teachers, but they may have different subjects that they teach, or specialize in, such as science or Spanish.

  • How many kinds of doctors can you name? What do they do?
    Example: Cardiologists work with the heart, pediatricians focus on treating children.
  • Why might a patient go see a specialist?
    Example: You may be referred to a neurologist by your family doctor if you get bad headaches.


Part 1: Each student will receive a card with a specialty on the front and a description on the back. Students will walk around the room, as if mingling at a party, introducing themselves to other students as a doctor in their given specialty and explaining what that specialty is. (Example: “Hello, I’m Dr. Lee. I specialize in pediatrics, which means I am an expert at treating injuries and illnesses in children.”) Give students a chance to meet with everyone, or almost everyone else in the room.

Part 2: Have students mingle again, only this time the students will tell each other what they do, but not the name of the specialty (have them hold cards with specialty name facing inward). The other student will have to guess what specialty their partner is describing. Once the specialty is guessed correctly, have the students mingle to find a new partner.

Tip: If you have a small group, give students multiple specialty cards.

Part 3: Split the class in half, or into large groups, to form teams for a “guess the drawing” race. Each team will need paper and writing utensils, or small whiteboards and dry erase markers. Each team will elect one person to draw first. The facilitator will give the person drawing a piece of paper with the specialty written on it. Once the person drawing has read it, the facilitator will take back the paper so it cannot be shown to his or her team. Whoever guesses what specialty is being drawn will be the next to get another specialty from the facilitator. If the student who guesses has already drawn, the team will quickly pick someone who hasn’t drawn to take their place. This is a race. The team to guess all of the specialties first, wins.

Tip: If possible, assign a facilitator to each team. If there aren’t enough adults, choose a student to give specialties to each team.

Wrap Up

Declare the winning team. Hand out a prize, if possible. Collect name badges from students.

Additional Activities

  • Students share articles with the group.
    Have the students who were assigned to bring articles with them during the last lesson share their article with the group. Have them explain why they chose the article. Ask the group for their thoughts about the topic.
  • Specialties.
    Have students look at the AAMC Careers in Medicine website to read more about individual specialties.
  • Inspiring Stories.
    Story of the week: Sunny Jha.
  • Journal writing.
    Have students write in their journals about the specialties that interested them the most, and which ones they think they’d pursue. Have them write why they think this/these specialties resonate with them.
  • Article to share with group next time.
    Assign one or two students to find an interesting article having to do with medical specialties or a specific type of medicine. Have the students share what they’ve read and facilitate a short discussion with the group about the article or topic.

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