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[8th Grade Social Studies]

[Summary of Unit]

Stage 1 Desired Results


WHI.29 Describe the origins and development of the Renaissance, including the influence and accomplishments of Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Shakespeare, and Johannes Gutenberg. (H)


Students will be able to independently use their knowledge to:

  • Analyze and resolve conflicts in order to work and live cooperatively with others.

  • Apply knowledge of political and social systems to participate actively as an informed citizen of a democracy.

  • Critically appraise historical and contemporary claims/decisions.

  • Apply concepts and systems of economics to participate productively in a global economy.



Students will understand that…

  1. Government and economics affect cultural achievements.

  2. Explosions of ideas often have unintended consequences and unpredictable effects.

  3. Influence and achievements of individuals has had profound effects on society.

  4. Good leadership qualities don’t necessarily make a good person.

  5. Humanism combined with Classical art and ideas to create great changes in thought and achievement.


  1. Does technology improve society?

  2. Would you rather be feared or loved?

  3. Can science and religion coexist?

  4. What role do the arts have in the development of society?

  5. What does it mean to be a well rounded person?

  6. What is the greatest invention of all time?


Students will know…

  1. Vocabulary:

-Summarize, Analyze, Identify, Compare/Contrast, Interpret, Primary Source/Secondary Source (Tier 2)

-Florence,Classical Art and Learning, Perspective, Patron, City-State, Republic, Humanities, Secular, Chapel, Proportion, New World, Subject, Comedy/Tragedy/Satire (Tier 3)

  1. Factors that contribute to the decline of Feudalism led to the birth of the Renaissance. (U1)

  1. Key aspects of the lives and achievements of Renaissance figures. (U3)

  1. How to identify art from different time periods. (U5)

  1. Describe key Renaissance advances in literature, the arts, math/science, architecture, economics, and government.

(U 2/3/5)

Students will be skilled at… S

1.Recognize, define, and use content specific vocabulary related to the Renaissance and Reformation.

  1. Identify, examine, and interpret primary and secondary source documents to increase understanding of events and life during the Renaissance. (U3,U5)

  2. Analyze and interpret a graphic organizer to help explain the origins of the Renaissance.


  1. Compare and contrast different types of art. Including Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance art and the differences and similarities between each. (U5)

  1. Express their understanding through writing, visual, oral and audio presentations. (U4)

Stage 2 – Evidence

Evaluative Criteria

Assessment Evidence



Historically Accurate

Visual and written information



-Assume the role of a major Renaissance figure. You will create a “Facebook” page on a poster board. Included on each poster will be essential biographical info, accomplishments, photographs and drawings, friends (other Renaissance figures) and family lists. This will also include chats and conversations between your Facebook person and other Renaissance figures.


Oral: Students write and present a 3-4 minute song about a Renaissnace or Reformation figure.
Written - Objective tests with multiple choice, matching and short essay questions.


-Beat the Master. Students will explore a piece of Renaiissance art by completing the second half of the masterpiece. They will write a short history of the piece. They will also give their interpretation and discuss five aspects of the piece that show it was created during the Renaissance period.

-Students will compare and contrast works of art from the Medieval and Renaissance Periords.

-Machiavelli or More:

Students will compare and contrast the philosophies of Renaissance writers Nicolo Machiavelli and Thomas More. They will learn the life experiences that influenced each man. Students will be put in pairs and given 10 quotes. They will have to interpret the quotes and assign the each quote to one of the Renaissance thinkers.

Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Summary of Key Learning Events and Instruction

  • Lesson 1: Introduction Causes of the Renaissance (U 1-3 and 5)

-Explanation of factors that encouraged the rebirth in culture and shift from Medieval times to the Renaissance. See the graphic organizer on p. 315

-Analyze and examine art from the Classical, Medieval and Renaissance periods.

-Use content response notes / graphic organizers to examine the influence of Florence on the Renaissance

  • Lesson 2: What was the Renaissance? (U1-5)

-Examination of the Renaissance thru achievements in engineering, architecture, sculpting, science, art, and literature. Including Brunelleschi’s Duomo, Michelangelo’s Pieta.

-Machiavelli vs. Moore: analyze and examine both secondary and primary sources on Machiavelli and Thomas Moore.

-Use content Response notes to analyze the achievements in each field

  • Lesson 3: Leading Figures of the Renaissance (U3/5)

-Identify leading figures of the Renaissance and delve into the contributions of figures such as da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Copernicus, Cervantes, Queen Isabella/Elizabeth, and Gutenberg.

-students will participate in a jigsaw activity to outline and present the major contributions and achievements of Renaissance figures

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

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