Social Sundays: Exploring the Middle Ages Part 1 Europe

It's easy to teach the castles and knights of the Middle Ages.  Students love creating their own heraldry crests and embarking on simulations of the feudal system.  But there is more to the Middle Ages in Europe than the tales of King Arthur (although, I definitely included them).  The engaging activities we jump into in our class are anchored by interactive notebooks.

The key idea here is interactive

 Students start with digital or paper notebook pages.  These pages are the guide to the unit.  When we are on a topic such as the guilds, students have their notebooks ready to add notes to at the end of our activity, in this case a gallery walk.  Other times, students work in small groups or individually to find answers to questions/ideas in the organizers.  The source of the answers comes from primary sources, readings, internet search, and books (Measly Middle Ages from Horrible Histories is a fun addition).  

The notebook pages also include big idea questions which are a source for journal entries, discussions, and essays.  Some might call these essential questions, but they are not always overarching questions.  Examples include: 

How are opportunities to become a skilled artisan different today than they were in Medieval Europe?  or Can the loss of a large percentage of a population change society?  Explain.

Want to try a notebook page?  Grab a free one on guilds here.  And join me in discussing Medieval Japan for part 2 of our Middle Ages Unit.

This is part of a series of posts on teaching topics in World History.  Topics include:

  • Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Ancient Egypt
  • China
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • The Middle Ages in Europe
  • Medieval Japan
  • The Renaissance
  • The Age of Exploration

Social Sundays is a bi-weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below or at the store in the question and answer section.



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