The Medieval Warm Period Activities for High School

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

The Medieval Warm Period included many important events that forever changed Europe and impacted world history. Use these activities to help students understand the agricultural, political, societal, and religious changes during this period.

It's Getting Hot In Here

With today's current discussions about global warming, students have most likely heard about climate change. They probably haven't studied another warming period in our earth's history, the Medieval Warming Period. During these 300 years, the climate of medieval Europe was warmer, and the continent underwent major agricultural, political, and religious changes.

Agricultural Revolution Skits

Students will create skits to show how certain agricultural technologies created during the Medieval Warming Period impacted medieval Europe and today's agricultural efforts.

Materials

  • Pictures (heavy plow, harrow, hoe, horse collar, tandem harness, horse shoes, three-field crop rotation)
  • Charts of temperature patterns during the Medieval Warm Period

Teacher Directions

  • Show students charts of the temperature patterns during the Medieval Warm Period. Discus how this change in temperature affected Europe including:
    • Better conditions to grow crops
    • Increase in life span and population with better nutrition and food availability
    • Decrease in Viking raids as Viking land became fertile to grow crops
  • Discuss the various agricultural technologies created in medieval Europe as a result of the climate change increasing Europeans' ability to grow crops.
  • Show students pictures of each technology and describe its impact on medieval Europe: heavy plow, harrow, hoe, horse collar, tandem, harness, horse shoes, three-field crop rotation
  • Divide the class into small groups.
  • Assign each group one of the technologies.
  • Have students create a skit to show how the technology encouraged an increase in agriculture in Europe and was a predecessor to today's agricultural technologies.
    • Encourage students to think about how they might show their technology in action, the benefits it brought to medieval farmers, and its lasting impact on agriculture today.
    • Allow students to use print/online resources to research how their technology is related to current technologies used in agriculture.
  • When students are finished, have them present their skits to the class.

Discussion Questions

  • How did the Medieval Warm Period bring about an agricultural revolution in Europe?
  • How have the technologies developed during the Medieval Warm Period influenced our agricultural practices today?

Magna Carta Cartoons

Students will create political cartoons about the Magna Carta.

Materials

  • Copies of the Magna Carta
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Highlighters

Teacher Directions

  • Provide students with copies of the Magna Carta and highlighters.
  • Read the Magna Carta as a class, and have students highlight words they feel are important.
  • Discuss the words students highlighted and the meaning of the document, including its historical context. Ask them to identify other historical documents that are similar to the Magna Carta.
  • Divide the class into pairs, and provide each pair with chart paper and markers.
  • Have students create a political cartoon about the Magna Carta to reflect its meaning. For example, students might draw a group of barons behind King John holding swords that say 'liberty,' 'fairness,' etc. This would show how the barons banded together to force King John to recognize their liberties.
  • When students are done, have them present their cartoons to the class.

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