Fiefs, Fighting, and Feudalism, Oh my! Looking for new ideas . . .
I'm working on planning my medieval Europe unit, arguably my favorite unit of the school year. I'm looking for some fresh ideas though - particulary in teaching feudalism and manorialism. Currently, I use the Feudal M & Ms simulation along with several different readings and role play, and for manorialism notes, lots of pictures, and then the kids create their own manors. Anybody?
One year I had kids write a journal as someone in the middle ages, doing a middle ages job, in the middle of a major middle ages historical event. They worked in groups so their group members had to interact in the journal. The kids really enjoyed it
Make a paper model of a castle (available from the web) and have the students name the parts and their purposes--tower, portcullis, crenellations. Then have the kids discuss the castle holding a tournament for other nobles, with flags, banners, horses, where and what they would cook, seating in the great hall, etc.
After that , you could discuss what the castle would do when an attack/siege threatened. What food would they try to store, and where? Have they already laid in supplies for such an possibility? Where is the well? What would the attackers try to do? What could they do to thwart various lines of attack?
If you want, I can send you an episode of "Barbarian's Lair," an awesome Cities of the Underworld documentary of castles, the Knights Templar, and the vicious barbarism that plagued Europe after the fall of Rome. It's awesome, is fast-paced and holds the students' attention. PM me your address if you want it!