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Ch 10: The Dark Ages: AP World History Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The Dark Ages chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach about the demise of classical culture in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the Dark Ages chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

DayTopicsKey Terms and Concepts Covered
MondayThe End of Classical Culture Remnants of classical culture in the former Roman Empire, invasion of Germanic tribes and overview of Frankish history, beginning with King Clovis
TuesdayEconomics and Religion in the Dark AgesCollapse of trade, church conflicts and role of the Byzantine Empire and Catholic Church in preserving Roman culture
WednesdayThe Birth of Islam Life and territorial conquests of Mohammed and Islamic laws and texts
ThursdayMonotheistic Religions and the Spread of IslamComparison of Islam with Christianity and Judaism; success of caliphates in converting people to Islam and Muslim achievements
FridayArt during the Dark Ages Byzantine architecture and mosaics, British art and the Golden Age of Ireland

16 Lessons in Chapter 10: The Dark Ages: AP World History Lesson Plans
The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical Culture

1. The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical Culture

This lesson explores the loss of classical culture during the Dark Ages. We compare the life of a medieval peasant to that of a Roman pleb. We then examine the causes of this decline, as well as its repercussions.

Germanic Tribes: Invasion in Rome

2. Germanic Tribes: Invasion in Rome

As the Roman Empire became bigger and bigger, tribes from Germany began to invade various areas. Eventually the continuous attacks led to the break-up of the Empire. This lesson explores a few of the more dominant tribes.

Insular Art: Ireland's Golden Age

3. Insular Art: Ireland's Golden Age

This lesson covers the Insular Art of Ireland's Golden Age. It examines the unique cultural and religious factors that made Ireland the religious and cultural leader of Northern Europe. It then examines the roots of Insular art in the interlacing bands of Anglo-Saxon metalwork. Finally, we explore how those bands found their way onto stone crosses and manuscript illuminations.

Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

4. Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

The Roman Empire covered a vast area, and when it fell, its people were in danger of losing their civilization. This lesson explores some of the things that remained as the Empire fell, as well as how they affected Roman citizens.

Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and Iconoclasm

5. Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and Iconoclasm

This lesson explores two conflicts that occurred in the early church: Arian Christianity, which taught a taboo belief regarding the Holy Trinity, and iconoclasm, which was the destruction of religious images.

Roman Economy in the Dark Ages

6. Roman Economy in the Dark Ages

This lesson explores the Roman Empire's economy from its beginnings as a farming culture to its expansion into trade and finally its deterioration after invasion from surrounding tribes.

Mohammed and the Birth of Islam

7. Mohammed and the Birth of Islam

Out of the deserts of Arabia would come a man who would change the world. He was Mohammed, founder of the religion of Islam, and this lesson serves as a brief summary of his life and the founding of the religion of Islam.

Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith: Overview, the Quran & Sharia Law

8. Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith: Overview, the Quran & Sharia Law

The Five Pillars of Islam are the foundation of the world's second largest faith. They are characterized by a simplicity that encourages peaceful cooperation between people, which is one reason for the religion's widespread devotion. This lesson will detail each of the five and show how they relate to the daily lives of practicing Muslims.

People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and Islam

9. People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and Islam

The religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are often seen as competing doctrines and faiths by observers and adherents. Yet, a summary investigation of their doctrines illustrates they have much in common. This lesson will examine these similarities in greater detail.

The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the Caliphates

10. The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the Caliphates

After the death of Mohammed, Islam continued to spread through Arabia, the Middle East and Africa. This lesson is an overview of Islam's progress from the faith of Mecca to a faith for all the world.

Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical & Literary Accomplishments

11. Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical & Literary Accomplishments

The Abbasid caliphate (750-1258 CE) oversaw the Golden Age of Islam. Learn about the accomplishments of Muslim scholars in art, literature, science, medicine and mathematics during this time.

Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

12. Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

This lesson covers Byzantine art and explains the difficulties of imposing artistic periods. Justinian is introduced as the man behind the Byzantine Golden Age. We explore the interesting dynamic between Byzantine imperialism and Christian religion. Finally, we take a brief look at eastern religious icons.

Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics & Examples

13. Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics & Examples

In this lesson, we look at the development of Byzantine architecture. We examine its relationship to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. We then compare Byzantine architecture to early Christian architecture and enumerate the distinctly Byzantine elements of their art and architecture: central-plan, domes and pendentives. Finally, we touch briefly on how these architectural masterpieces were decorated.

Frankish History: Clovis and the Merovingians

14. Frankish History: Clovis and the Merovingians

This lesson will focus on Clovis and the rise and fall of the Merovingian Dynasty. It will highlight his unification of the Franks, his conversion to Catholicism, and the cultural advancements of the dynasty's rule.

Middle Ages Lesson Plan

15. Middle Ages Lesson Plan

With this lesson plan and a video from Study.com, your students' understanding of the Middle Ages will be anything but 'Dark.' Opportunities to explain feudalism and the Black Death are included.

The Dark Ages: Definition, History & Timeline

16. The Dark Ages: Definition, History & Timeline

In this lesson, we will examine the period of time commonly referred to as the Dark Ages. We will learn why this period is called the Dark Ages and discuss why some historians are now shying away from this term.

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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the AP World History Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course

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