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The Rise of Medieval Universities Lesson Plan

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.

Consider using this lesson during a unit on medieval Europe to discuss the rise of medieval universities. A group activity is included for students to create a proposal for a new university and present it to the ruling body of a town or city.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe why universities grew in Europe during the Middle Ages
  • describe how education progressed from monasteries to guilds and universities
  • identify factors that contributed to the growth in secular education

Length

1-2 hours

Materials

  • Chart paper
  • Markers

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

Instruction

  • Ask students to identify their favorite college and what they would like to study.
  • Tell the class that they will be examining the rise of universities in Europe during the Middle Ages.
  • Play the lesson, The Rise of Universities and Displacement of Monasteries, pausing at 2:13.
  • Have students discuss the following questions:
    • Why were monasteries centers for education during the High Middle Ages?
    • How did the Crusades help bring about the growth of education outside of monasteries?
  • Finish playing the lesson, and have students discuss the following questions:
    • How were guilds similar to today's trade schools?
    • How did the availability of classical texts change the availability and philosophy of education?
    • Why was a charter important to a university?
    • What were some difficulties faced by early scholars and universities?
    • What were the societal benefits of the increasing number of universities in Europe?
  • To assess mastery of the lesson's concepts, have students complete the lesson quiz.

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