The Middle Ages is often thought of as a time of kings and kingdoms, knights in shining armor, and big castles. It is quite often the setting of fairy tales and adventures. In this unit all subjects will be integrated to create an overall appreciation and understanding of the true Middle Ages. Students will experience what life was really like during this time for people at both ends of the social class system. In math class students will study Roman numerals and the measurement system employed during the Middle Ages. In social studies students will learn the feudal system and the impact it had on the people of this time period. In language arts students will write creative journals, and they will experience a taste of what it was like to be a king, knight, or peasant during this time in the world’s history. In science class students will study health and nutrition of this time period as well as the technology created and used in everyday life. Also, in art class students will construct their own castles with a group of their classmates. Students will use art class to form their castles and decorate the inside with characteristics of this time period.
In the study of this time period, the students will see the mistakes made by the people because of their views on religion and politics of the time. Students will be able to understand the importance of freedom in Christ that we learn in the gospels compared to the view of salvation through works and status as seen in the Middle Ages. For we read in Mark 10:42-45:
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”
Furthermore, students will develop empathy for and a sense of the need to help those in lower classes. Students will focus on the gap in social class during this time, and they will relate to the hardships that the peasants experienced. Students will also see the importance of separation between church and state that was not evident during this time. Finally, students will notice how these same topics affect their lives today.
The ultimate goal of this unit is to help the students to experience life in the Middle Ages. What would their status be? They will also be able to differentiate between the popular view, as seen in books and movies, and the realities of hardship that every time-period and culture faces. Through in-depth research and hands-on experience they will understand these concepts. Finally, students will see how progress during that time has affected our world today. Students will learn these things from in class lessons as well as group and individual projects and activities outside of class.