Renaissance Project Ideas for Middle School

Instructor: Laura McNeice

Laura has a masters in Curriculum and Instruction in Social Studies Education and has been teaching for 7 years in North Carolina.

When studying the Renaissance, projects can be a wonderful way to create deeper engagement with these ancient works of art and the revolutionary changes to ideology that accompanied this defining time period of history.

Renaissance Project Ideas

These projects are designed to help students get a deeper look at the valuable art from this period and the changes to society this revolutionary time in history prompted. These projects are ideal for eighth grade students and can be completed individually or modified to be in a group format.

Artist in a Bag

You can either assign one or allow students to pick a Renaissance artist to complete their project about. This assignment is designed for students to complete as an individual, but could easily be adapted for group work if necessary. Each student should complete basic research about their person including a run down of the who, what, when, where, why, and how for their person. You can individualize these questions based on what information fits into your specific standards best. Students will then decorate a paper bag as they imagine their Renaissance artist would. In the bag, students should put images, either printed or hand drawn, replicas of items, documents, or quotes that accurately represent the core ideas and works of their assigned artist. Students will then present their artist's bag to the class discussing the decoration of the bag and removing each item to explain them as well.

Cultural Tour Guide

Students will be divided into small groups and should be assigned a key Italian city-state that was influential in the Renaissance, such as Florence, Rome, etc. They must then research what makes it important and key sites inside the city that speak to the political, economic, social, and cultural changes that occurred there. They will then design a city tour in which they have at least 8 stops highlighting each of the research criteria; it is critical that not all of their stops are focused on artists, but also the politicians and patrons of the period. At each stop, they should have a script prepared of what they will be saying, which must include why this was a key part of the Renaissance. Each group will present their full tour which should include images on the board behind them of each sight they are stopping at as they give their prepared script. They should either make a digital map of their tour with all the stops or create a physical map of them to have for students and teacher to view.

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