This unit covers medieval Japan and Europe, including feudalism, the crusades, and the Black Plague.
The Medieval World unit contains 7 learning experiences.
Learning Experiences (Lessons) in The Medieval World Each learning experience takes about 45 minutes to teach in the device-enabled classroom.
Classical Japan: Geography and Civilization
Students are introduced to the physical geography of Japan and its impact on the development of civilization there. Then they examine the ancient and classical periods of Japanese history and create a timeline of the most significant features. Finally, they learn about The Tale of Genji and reflect on the role of a literary work as a historical document.
Medieval Japan: Shoguns and Samurai
Students are introduced to the feudal system of medieval Japan. Then, they explore the role of the shogun and the samurai and they create a diagram that explains the social class system in that era of Japanese history. Finally, they evaluate the Bushido—the value system of the samurai—and reflect on what it means to live an “honorable life” today.
Medieval Japanese Society and Culture
Students are introduced to the role of Zen Buddhism in Japan by watching a video of a tea ceremony. Then they read more about the history of Zen Buddhism and the tea ceremony. Next, they work in small groups to research and present one traditional Japanese art form. Finally, they reflect on the elements of traditional Japanese culture and explain which appeal to them most and why.
Medieval Europe: Geography and Environment
Students begin with a brief review of what they know about major geographical features of Europe. Then, they work in small groups to research specific types of European geographical features, such as mountains, waterways, and climate. Next, they read about the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, two marked climatic changes that had major effects on European history. Finally, they learn about medieval European life and its connection to geography.
Students express their initial impressions of the medieval period. Then, they gain information from a video and a text on major medieval institutions including feudalism. They explain the causes and effects of the growth of medieval cities. Finally, they discuss whether they would have wanted to live in medieval times, and why.
The Role of the Church and the Crusades
Students begin the experience with a gripping and perhaps troubling video about the Crusades. They explore more deeply the role and structure of the medieval Catholic Church, the role of religious orders, and the unique situation of Muslim Spain and Portugal. Then they return to the Crusades, describing the effects and explaining their views on why those effects were positive or negative.
The Late Middle Ages
Students learn about the roles of the Magna Carta and English common law in the expansion of individual liberty in Western civilization. Then, they move forward in time to explore the Black Death and explain its causes and effects. Finally, they create a piece of descriptive writing about the Black Death.