Thirty Years' War Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students about the Thirty Years' War with this lesson plan. Students will watch a video lesson that outlines the causes of the war, the countries involved and the results. Higher-order thinking questions and activities are used to increase understanding and an informal assessment lets you check in on comprehension.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the reasons for the Thirty Years' War
  • describe the nations involved in the Thirty Years' War and their roles
  • discuss the results of the Thirty Years' War


50 minutes for lesson plus time for teaching activity


  • Access to technology
  • Chart paper or poster board

Key Vocabulary

  • Catholic
  • Protestant
  • Holy Roman Empire
  • 1555 Peace of Augsburg
  • Bohemia
  • Defenestration of Prague
  • Treaty of Lübeck
  • Spain
  • France
  • 1635 Treaty of Prague
  • Pomerania

Curriculum Standards

  • 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.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3

Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Warm Up

  • Ask students to imagine living in a time when the laws dictated their religious beliefs and practices and they could even be put to death if they didn't agree.
  • Give students ten minutes to journal to the prompt 'What would my life be like if I didn't have religious freedom?'
  • After ten minutes divide students into partners and have them share their answers with each other.
  • Discuss as a group after share time, allowing students to share their thoughts and ideas about their religious freedom.
  • Ask:
    • Should governments have anything to do with religion?
    • What would you do to try to change laws if your religious freedoms were challenged?

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