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3 Day Unit on the Middle Ages

Time Frame

3 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups

Life Skills

Thinking & Reasoning


Colleen Gardner


Students will gain perspective on history. They will know when in time the story of Robin Hood took place and learn what society was like in this time period. Also, given a manipulative model of a time line, students will consistently demonstrate personal understanding of the concept of time lines. They will do this by creating their own time lines including B.C. and A.D. references. Students will briefly describe events and write the dates. They will see the Middle Ages(1100-1600)with the perspective of a time line dating from 2,650 B.C. to 1620 A.D.


Book: Carisbrooke Castle by Jane Shuter. Show a picture of the Zimbabwe Wall 1100 A.D. Many encyclopedias feature photos of this historic structure under 'Africa.' It looks like a castle and is a great example of architecture and craftsmanship.

Background for Teachers

Remember to site history and artifacts from all over the world. If we only teach about English castles, and society, we send the message that its the only culture worth studying.

Student Prior Knowledge

A prior knowledge of Greek mythology and Egyptian civilization would be optimal.

Intended Learning Outcomes

See that history is interesting and exciting/ understand how to read a time line and interpret what is meant by B.C.and A.D./ associate future studies with these historic events and compare them in order of chronology

Instructional Procedures

STEP BY STEP LAY OUT FOR A UNIT ON THE MIDDLE AGES. Day I Begin- Review Greek Mythology, the Odyssey, the Trojan War. Discuss the fear of dragons that existed in society. The science of the time attributed the discovery of dinosaur bones as proof of dragon creatures existing. This is why it was a generally excepted view that dragons existed. Middle- Show the book Carisbrooke Castle- Discuss the Anglos and the Saxons and how William the conqueror took over. Explain the Feudal System. Activity with the class: Do some math figuring out how much lapsed between the last of the original Olympic Games and Robin Hood. How much time elapsed between Robin Hood and Columbus? Lets say Maid Marian and Robin got married and had a baby in 1195A.D. When their baby grew up and turned 18, this son or daughter got married and had a baby. It was Robin's first grandson or granddaughter. Is it possible that their great grandson could have moved to Spain and been a sailor on Columbus's famous voyage? Pause and let them do their own work. Then discuss and show the work on the board. If the baby was born 18 years after 1195 A.D. Then he was born in the year 1213. Columbus sailed in 1492 so that grandson would have been 279 years old. So the answer is, 'No, probably not.' Columbus, most likely, would hire someone younger. End:Review the time line and discuss the placment of the following events in time: the building of the pyramids- the original olypic games-statues being made to honor Greek Gods-biblical times-gladiators-persicution of christians-growth of the Catholic Church-Crusades-Robin Hood-Columbus- Cortez and the Aztecs- Queen Elizabeth- pirating- and Shakespeare. Give students the assignment to make their own time line. As homework, have students discus with family and use referances at home or the library to find events, inventions, and people of interest and place them in corilation with the dates on their time lines. Day II Begin with the time line. Discuss homework - events and inventions they found out about at home and added to their time lines. Add these to the class visual aid of a time line. Mention that the cross bow had not been invented in Robin Hood's time. Also, full body armor wasn't available or necessary. Chain Mao was adiquate protection from arrows. People didn't invent full armored suits, like we see knights wearing, untill the invention of the crossbow. Arrows shot from those things go right through chain mao. Middle: Tell about the Crusades and King Richard the Lion Hearted. Prince John taking over while King Richard was away. He overtaxed the people and abused his power. Read the Robin Hood verses in Old English text . Discuss how different people who lived at different times in history have written about this heroic figure. Read old sonnets and lyrics to the class so they hear that the language and writing style was different then from the way we communicate now. End- Show and discuss the Power Point presentation about Robin Hood. Day III In the computer room, have students look up the list of vocabulary words concerning the Middle Ages. It's on the< Discovery> internet site. They can click on the word and an audio feature pronounces to word aloud. Teach students how to copy and paste the words and definitions to a blank Microsoft Word document and print it out for themselves 1. Discuss with students access to education during the Middle Ages, leading them to see that the vast majority of people who lived then were poor, uneducated laborers and that only lords, knights, and their ladies were literate. 2. Luckily, some medieval people who were literate left written records, so we know a lot about life at this time. Explain to the class that they are going to pretend they are medieval lords, knights, and ladies who keep diaries (or journals) so that future generations can read about what their lives are like. 3. Allow students to make up names for themselves as lords, knights, and ladies. 4. Now brainstorm with your class to produce a list of topics that the lords, knights, and ladies would write about in their diaries. Such a list might include the following topics: • Their daily lives in their castles--comfort (or lack of comfort), space, lighting, furniture • Activities for entertainment • Romantic relationships • Attacks on the castle by other lords and knights 5. Direct students to write two entries in their diaries and to make up the date for each entry. The two entries can focus on one topic (see previous list) or can cover a variety of topics. Advise students to include as many details as possible in each entry. After you have read students' entries, select a few of the most detailed for their writers to read to the class.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

The interactive vocabulary work sheet on Discovery Schools web site will allow kids to listen to the pronunciation of the words. It will let them hear it as many times as they like. Students can learn at their own pace.


Assessment Plan

Evaluating Students Learning-Short Answer and Multiple Choice worksheet -- What kind of weapons did Robin Hood and people who lived in 1190 use? What was the name of Robin's good friend -- and was he little? What is that system called when you are born royalty, nobility, tradesman, or peasant and it's almost impossible to change what you will be? Multiple Choices What was the King's name who started the Crusades and also was known as The Lion Hearted? Multiple Choices Assignment- Draw a time line and arrange the following events in chronological order. The building of the pyramids in Egypt- the original Olympic games- Moses-gladiators- Crusades-Robin Hood-Columbus- Cortez and the Aztecs- Queen Elizabeth-Shakespeare.Write the year next to the event to show when it happened. Remember to write weather it was B.C. (before Christ) or A.D. (after death) Include the following events on your time line. Also, discuss with your parents, do some research, and find out about some other interesting events, inventions, or creations in history. Include these on your time line along with the assigned list of topics.


Discovery Schools Lesson Plan- Middle Ages " plans/programs/timesmedieval/#voc" I created and presented this lesson plan to my host class of 5th graders. The teacher, Peggy Schanz, and her class have taken me under their wing and give audience to my budding teaching skills. This was part of the 'Introduction To Teaching' class I'm taking this semester.

Created: 11/10/2003
Updated: 01/19/2018