The Dark Ages Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan will outline the key terms and discussion points relating two lessons on the Dark Ages. Several activity topics will be given to help students understand this topic a bit more in depth.

Learning Objectives

After completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • discuss what happened during the Dark Ages
  • explain how people came to be in the Dark Ages
  • discuss why the term 'Dark Ages' may not be all that appropriate from numerous standpoints


60-120 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3

Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6

Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


  • Internet access or research materials

Key Vocabulary

  • Dark Ages
  • Bubonic Plague
  • Feudalism
  • Crusades


  • Start the lesson off with the question: What are the Dark Ages? Discuss as a class for a few minutes.
  • Introduce the video lesson The Dark Ages: Definition, History & Timeline.
  • Pause at 0:30. Discuss why the timeline (period of time) of the Dark Ages is approximate.
  • Pause at 1:58. Discuss the basic components of feudalism.
  • Pause the video at 2:28. Discuss how the Bubonic Plague spread to Europe.
  • Pause at 3:38. Ask:
    • Why is the term Dark Ages appropriate (or not) given the historical accuracies of what actually occurred during this time culturally, technologically, and so forth?
  • Play the remainder of the video.
  • Now introduce the video lesson: The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical Culture.
  • Pause the video at 3:10. Have a whole class discussion on how and why the Christian Church came to prominence and domination over the people of the Dark Ages.
  • Play the video, pausing again at 4:40. Ask:
    • What are the consequences people faced if they stepped out of line with respect to the Church's teachings?
  • Play the remainder of the video now, answering any remaining questions.
  • Before moving on to the activity, complete the lesson quiz on the history and timeline of the Dark Ages, as well as the lesson quiz on the loss of classical culture in the Dark Ages to check understanding.

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