DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

The Lesson

01.  Begin the class with a quick review of the state of European government leading up to the feudal system.  Discuss the role of empire and the effects of the falls.  This will informally assess how much they have learned up to this point.

       Duration: 10 minutes

02.   Class Activity:

       With a Map on the board, assign one of the students to be the “King.”  This king will have control over the whole territory.  Assign a second territory to another king.  They own all that land. Ask them quesitons like: How do they feel about that?  What are they going to do to defend themselves if they are attacked? Who is going to work the land? How are they going to manage  every detail of the land?  Etc. Vocabulary word: Demesne

         Ask them to pick two “lords/nobles” each.  They can give them any of their land that they want in exchange for military service and managing that particular land.  Pose similar questions again to the king and now also to the nobles. 

       The nobles must solve this by choosing vassals, to serve a similar focus.  Repeat the questions.  This time also talk about who exactly the vassals feel a loyalty to-the lords who gave them the land or the king?  Why?  How does this effect potential rebellion or battle situations?  And finally, there is still the question-who is going to work the land?  Do the vassals want to do it? Are there enough of them? 

      Hence the lowest level, the serfs/villeins which will be randomly assigned but then stuck with the team.  Repeat questions about how it feels to be in that position.  Explain at each level some of the roles of the class and some of the restrictions.  For serfs, how does it feel to be at the bottom of the pyramid?  Once it is evident that the students understand the concept have them fill in the diagram to put in with their notes and help as a reference for later. 

     Duration: 35 minutes

03. Begin day two with a brief lecture about church structure-

                How is this similar or different than the secular structures?

                How did the lay rulers and the church work together?

                           Vocabulary Word: Lay investiture

                How is this similar or different than the Catholic Church today?

                How is this similar or different than other Religious apparatus?

       Duration: 25 minutes

04. Split the class into small groups for them to try to figure out a rational for the Crusades, keeping in mind the position of the church, the position of the kings/lords and their relationship with eachother.  Share with the class.

      Duration: 10 minutes

05. Work with the class to understand the religious fervor that drove the Crusades, how absolutely commited they were to thier religion.  Supplement with  primary documents such as a version of Urban II's speech at the Council of Clermont that launched the first Crusade.  Where did things like politics and economic play a factor in this?  How is this different than religious extremism today?

          Duration: 10 minutes

06. Start the class by having students discuss in small groups the economic system the feudal system creates and what products it is lacking.  How could they potentially gain those products? Segue this into a mini-lecture on the Rise of Towns and the guild system in the Middle Ages.  Once this is understood, students will work individually comparing and contrasting the three "power pyramids" of the middle ages, the feudal pyramid, the church pyramid, and the Guild pyramid.

       Duration: 45 minutes




DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.