Middle Ages Activities

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

The Middle Ages saw plagues, crusades and the fall of the Roman Empire. Teaching about the Middle Ages should be exciting and fun. These activities are designed to support this topic

Middle Ages Activities

The Middle Ages, which is also commonly referred to as the Medieval Period and sometimes as the Dark Ages, spanned from the late 5th century to the beginning of the 14th century. This time in history was largely governed by feudalism and the Catholic Church. These activities will help students connect with this fascinating time period.

Cathedrals of the Middle Ages Activity

The Middle Ages were heavily influenced by Catholicism. The construction of Gothic cathedrals became the order of the day, and this activity highlights them.


  • Internet access
  • Internet enabled devices
  • Slide presentation software
  • Projector


  1. Divide the students into small groups of three to five students.
  2. Instruct the groups to use the Internet to research the most well-known cathedrals constructed during the Middle Ages.
  3. Ask each group to select five cathedrals to feature in a slide presentation. The presentation must include photographs and key facts about each cathedral. Students may choose to narrate their slide presentation or set it to music.
  4. Ask the students to take turns playing their slide presentations for the class.

Beans: The Source of Life in the Middle Ages Activity

Beans were successfully cultivated for the first time in Europe during the Middle Ages. This staple was relatively easy to grow and this activity gives students a chance to witness this.


  • Assorted dried beans
  • Potting soil
  • Paper cups
  • Water
  • Plastic wrap
  • Toothpicks


  1. Explain to the class that beans were a main staple in the Medieval diet and that most people grew them themselves.
  2. Pass out the dried beans, one per student.
  3. Distribute the paper cups to the class now, one per student.
  4. Tell the class to write their names on their cups along with the date.
  5. Have each student add one scoop of potting soil to their paper cups.
  6. Now instruct the students to use their index fingers to create a divot in the soil.
  7. Ask the students drop their beans into the divot.
  8. Instruct the students to push the soil back over the bean and then water the soil until it is moist.
  9. Next, tell the students to cover their cups with plastic wrap and place them in a warm place.
  10. Have the students monitor their beans each day, noting any sprouts by writing the date the sprout emerges from the soil on the cup.
  • When students see sprouts, have them use the toothpicks to punch holes in the plastic wrap and continue watering the soil to keep it damp.
  • After two weeks, ask students to respond to the following questions in a group discussion:
    • How many of our beans sprouted?
    • How long might it take to grow beans for consumption?
    • How different would growing techniques have been in the Middle Ages?
    • What kinds of dishes could be made with beans?

The Bubonic Plague Activity

Nearly 30% of Europe's population was lost in the Middle Ages as a result of the Bubonic plague. This activity is designed to teach students about this deadly pandemic.


  • Internet access
  • Internet-enabled devices
  • Three pieces of poster board
  • Markers

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