Wat Tyler Activities

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

All revolutions need a leader and Wat Tyler tried to fill that role in the Peasant's Revolt of the 1300s, although his leadership was short-lived. Help your students learn about this historical figure in the following classroom activities.

Who was Wat Tyler?

In England in the 1300s, the plague had just wiped out a huge chunk of the population. Many people were poor, but the government insisted on keeping wages low and adding taxes. Wat Tyler led a revolt against the English government to protest this treatment, which harnessed the power of the peasants in England to demand social reforms. Called the Peasant's Revolt, it started successfully, but the peasants began looting and murdering people in London. Not long after, Wat Tyler was killed by a mayor who was horrified by his demands.

As your students learn about Wat Tyler, it will be important to learn about his life as well as his impact on the development of the Peasant's Revolt and England during the 1300s. Use the following activities to get started developing your unit.

Wanted Poster

Divide your students into pairs and tell them that they'll be researching Wat Tyler and the reasons the English government wanted him stopped. They should create a Wanted Poster which briefly explains the main reasons that the English government thought of Wat Tyler as a dangerous criminal. Your students will have to think about the English government's point-of-view and examine their motivations. They should also include an illustration based off images they can find in their research. Afterward, display the wanted posters around the classroom. Have your students discuss the posters by asking: What is similar about our posters? What is different? What surprised you about other people's posters?

Wat Tyler Biography

Students should research Wat Tyler's life and influence in England and choose an area of his life to focus on: childhood, early adulthood, or the time period in which he was organizing the Peasant's Revolt. Your students should then write a biographical piece about that period in Tyler's life. They might make a picture book, write a poem, or perform a skit. You might create a sharing day in which your students read their work or perform their skit for the rest of the class.

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