The Middle Ages for Teachers for Use in the Classroom - Free Use Lesson Plans, Classroom Activities, Simulations, Final Activity Illustration

The Middle Ages for Teachers

For the Middle Ages: Free Use lesson plans, classroom activities, interactive activities, simulations, debates, mock trial, primary documents, learning modules for kids, review activities, concluding activities, and projects written by us and by other teachers for Medieval Europe.

These lessons can be adjusted for any grade. They are all free to use in your classroom.

Donn, Opening Activities, First Day of Unit:

  • Activity: Time Period. Introduce your unit on Medieval Europe by having your kids define the time period.  Ask: “Who knows what medieval means?” (Get some answers. Direct one student to look up the definition of medieval in the dictionary. Adjust students’ answers as needed.)  Say: “That’s right. Medieval means middle—but, the middle of what?” (Get some answers.) “Historians mean in the middle of history. In medieval times, the cavemen were long gone.” The Middle Ages (or medieval times) refers to a block of time in history from 500 CE to about 1500 CE—a period of 1000 years. Wherever you are on the globe—be it Asia, Africa, South America, or Europe—if you are talking about a piece of history that happened between 500 CE and 1500 CE, you are talking about something that happened in the Middle Ages. For the next few weeks, we’re going to take a look at what was going on during the Middle Ages in just one piece of the globe—in Medieval Europe. Medieval Europe was a time of knights and vassals and castles and war.

  • Activity: Time Line. Say: “Today, I want each of you to organize a timeline for yourself. We don’t have much to add to our timeline right now, so we’ll just get it ready to go.”  Direct students to get out a piece of paper or use the handout provided entitled: Timeline. Fold paper in half and then in half again to create four sections. Label sections 500 CE, 750 CE, 1000 CE, and 1250 CE.  Say: “You do not need to memorize a lot of dates. This timeline is to give an idea of sequencing.”  Ask: “Who knows what sequencing means?” (If you have to, have a student look it up in the dictionary and read the definition aloud.)  Say: “Timelines are a helpful way to quickly see the sequence of events.” Teacher Note: Throughout the unit, direct students to take out their timelines and update them based on the information studied to date. Allow 3–5 minutes for this activity with each update.

  • Activity: Word Walls, vocabulary. Set up your word walls. I use the outline of a castle for my word wall section. Don uses a medieval cathedral. Both work. Have the kids add words to the word wall as we run into new vocabulary. Now and then throughout the unit, I group the kids and have a challenge. I give the class the definition, and groups give me the word that goes with that definition - they must raise their hands and be called on by me prior to answering. Group with the most right words wins. The prize is bragging rights only.

  • Activity: Geography: Medieval Europe Map lesson plan, handouts, activity: blank map kids can fill in to finish the teaching period

Our lesson plans for the Middle Ages

Here are free use lessons by other educators:

124 pages, The Middle Ages, a teachers guide with lesson plans and activities, including a Feudalism Play, free download

Justinian's Code Lesson Plan and Classroom Activity

Charlemagne Bias Lab - Two readings on Charlemagne that mirror one another. Read both to see how bias can greatly affect our view of a historical figure, with Doc 1 and Doc 2

Crumbling Kingdom - A classroom simulation of what daily life might be like to live in a civilization that was collapsing around you. End of dark ages, manor life, rise of towns, one-hour

Culture Shock: Dark Ages - Five mini activities to show how one might go about rebuilding a fallen society

Challenge the use of the phrase "Dark Ages",  lesson plan, multiple activities

The Battle of Hastings 1066, Classroom Activity

Bayeux Tapestry, Curriculum Ideas, Battle of Hastings, and several free download activities

The Domesday Book, lesson plan and activities

The Church in Medieval Times, great information and interesting lesson ideas, for example: "Activity: Listen to Thomas Aquinas’ Pange Lingua. Have you heard music that sounds like this before? Write down some features you would use to describe the music you have just heard – list a few things it has in common with modern music, and a few differences. Now think about the roles you have seen music play in medieval life. (Described in the lesson ideas.) What role would music have played in your life if you were a medieval monk? How about if you were a medieval townsman outside the church? What ceremonies do we have today in which music plays an important role – it doesn't have to be playing the whole time (for example, the national anthem at a baseball game)?"

Object Explore: An Abbey Stone, lesson plan and activity, free download

Object Explore: An Abbey Manuscript, lesson plan and activity, free download

The Manorial System, Pleasant Peasant Poems, lesson plan with activities

Castle Builder - a very fun activity where kids first sketch their castle and then do battle (from the brilliant Kevin Roughton, with all necessary instructions and downloads)

Teachers Notes: Castles and Knights

What is the same about these castles?

Castles for Kids activities

The Feudal System - Medieval Society

The Vassal Game, lesson and simulation

Feudalism in Medieval Europe lesson plan with choice of activities

One hour classroom activity simulating life in a feudal society

Medieval Crime and Punishment fact sheets, free download

Not everyone lived in castles during the Middle Ages (lesson)

Code of Behavior: First, read this page on Medieval Knights. Then, working in small groups or independently, write your own code based on today's social code of behavior.

The Crusades Simulation (Activity, Mr. Roughton)

Storyboard, the Crusades, free download

Tales of King Arthur, lesson and activities

Comparison of Two Documents, The Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence, and the creation of a third - the Declaration of the Rights of Students

The Magna Carta - Teaching ideas and activities, animated video, British Library

The Magna Carta - Cornerstone of the US Constitution, lesson plan with activities

Late Middle Ages Dossiers: King John vs. King Richard, lesson plan with activities, handouts

The Path of the Black Death | EDSITEment

The Black Death (Activity, Mr. Roughton

Weighing the Evidence - Robin Hood Activity

A Bakers Dozen, Medieval Guilds, lesson plan with activities

Business in the Middle Ages - working in a guild (using hatters)

Rise of Towns: Wanted: Medieval Workers, lesson idea. Have kids write either a news article or a wanted workers poster, using persuasion in illustrations and text

Rise of Trades and Towns, lesson plan

Middle Ages Projects - many handouts, free downloads

Medieval Role Playing Activity, free download

Middle Ages Project Ideas, 8th grade, free download

European Middle Ages Project, free download

The Game of Goose - Includes game board for download with lesson plan

Play a real Viking Board Game - includes board and pieces

Games - Both Free Interactive Online Games, and a long list of written indoor and outdoor games with instructions on how to play

An Introduction to Beowulf, lesson plan

Final Activity, An Original Morality Play combined with a Medieval Trade Fair with Medieval games that kids actually played hundreds of years ago, with guests of other students and parents  (see extended activity, bottom of page)

Free Use Cartoon Videos for Kids

The Middle Ages (cartoon video)

A Mini Guide to Medieval Castles

Medieval Knights (cartoon video)

Code of Chivalry - A list of behavior for knights (avoid torture has always been one of my favorite rules of Chivalry)

What is the Magna Carta? (cartoon video, British Museum)

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, Art, Word, War