Medieval Times WebQuest a discovery of the Past Introduction

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Medieval Times WebQuest

A Discovery of the Past

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Now that you have finished reading Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray and have a background of Medieval Life, imagine yourself actually living in a Medieval Manor during the period of 950AD – 1500AD when life was quite different from ours today. After the fall of the Roman Empire to invading German tribes, Western Europe broke into many separate kingdoms. Trade ended, people had to make their living from the land, and the feudal system began. By the 9th century, most of Western Europe was carved into large manor estates ruled by landlords. Most people became poor peasants who worked on the land. Some towns were abandoned as people moved to the countryside. Each manor was supported almost entirely by its inhabitants. Most of the state and city schools closed and educational and cultural activities ceased. Few people could read or write and the development of ancient literature, architecture, painting and sculpture were forgotten. Some people adopted the ways of their Roman neighbors accepting Christianity as their religion, farming the land and trading with merchants. The church became the single force that bound Europe together during this feudal period.
As you imagine yourself in this feudal period, think about your role in the manor. What is your job? What contribution are you making to this feudal society?

Task :
Your task is two fold. Part 1 will be an individual project; Part 2 will be completed as a group.
Part 1: You will choose from a group of medieval people, research their role in medieval society, and create a video taped presentation, dressed as this person, describing the findings of your research. What is your job? What contributions are you making to the feudal society? Are any occupations today similar to those of long ago?
Part 2: You will be assigned to a group which will research and present one of the following topics of the medieval era: Feudalism, Knighthood, Education, Medieval Medicine and Castles. What impact did this topic have on the medieval period? What impact did this topic have on our lives we live today?
Please check with the King (teacher) for approval on all project topics before beginning research.
The Process and Resources:
Background and Instructions for Everyone:

  1. Visit the first site for general background about the medieval period.

  2. Explore the other sites to do research for your individual and group projects too!

  3. Read the description to see if it’s related to your topic.

  4. Specific sites listed for the castle and medicine group projects.

Advancing Excellent Teaching in American Schools: What was it Like to Live in the Middle Ages?

This site asks “What was it like to live in the Middle Ages?’ It has links to: Feudal Life, Religion, Home, Clothing, Health, Arts and Entertainment, Townlife, and related resources. This site is sponsored by Advancing Excellent Teaching in American Schools uses media and telecommunications to advance excellent teaching in American schools. An excellent site with a great variety of resources!

Related Websites About Life in Medieval Times:

Grantchester: A Medieval Village Includes an introduction video to the site!

Medieval England - Daily Life in Medieval Towns

Middle Ages
istory Channel’s 75 Middle Ages Topics

WWW.SIRCLISTO.COM This is Sir Clisto Severwood’s tomb of adventure and knowledge. This presentation provides links to the History Channel’s 75 Middle Ages topics. If you don’t find what you need, a search box is provided through the Argo Medieval search engine. Great graphics, sound, and sources!

School Site Created by Mrs. Sunda’s 4th and 5th Grade Gifted Class This is a site created by a 4th and 5th grade gifted class on Life in the Middle Ages. Several good links to Becoming a Knight, Castle, Cathedrals and many others.
EMuseum Middle Ages Site This is an interactive site sponsored by the emuseum. Excellent graphics and links to information about the middle ages.
Scott Rees Design Middle Ages Site This site was developed by a home schooled student who has a keen interest in the middle ages. Topics include:   Feudal System The Royal Court Manor Life in the towns Barons Medieval soldiers Peasants Bibliography Other History Sites Great sites for research!
r. Dowling’s Electronic Passport to the Middle Ages

Between Ancient and Modern  |  Feudalism |  Primogeniture

Christendom   |  The Huns  |  The Barbarians  |  The Byzantine Empire
The Moors  |  The Franks and Charlemagne  |  The Vikings
The Normans  |  The Bubonic Plague A teacher’s site on the Middle Ages. Lots of text with some pictures. A good site for information about the topics listed above.
Art of the Middle Ages

These pages are maintained by Chris Witcombe, Professor of Art History at Sweet Briar College, Virginia. A good source for viewing art of the Middle Ages.

Harps and Heralds: A Study of Medieval England (2002 ThinkQuest USA)

This website about medieval England covers dragons, knights, unicorns, music, royalty, castles, Robin Hood, medicine and more.

Medieval Madness (Grade 6)

Welcome all ye lords and ladies of the manor! Enter this site to learn of the time in history we call the "Middle Ages."

Middle Ages
Welcome to the Manor: A Guide through Medieval Life (2002)
Medieval Technology by P.J. Gans from New York University

Learn about items of daily life - - information on technological innovation and related subjects in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. This site has a timeline of technology for those who are interested.

Middle Ages Pathfinder This site from Hudson Middle School has links to site, books and resources about the Middle Ages.

Castles-of-Britain Medieval English Towns Medieval-Life The Middle Ages Life in the Middle Ages Tales of the Middle Ages Minnesota State U.eMuseum Camelot Village Well organized and easy to navigate!
Iter: Gateway to Middle Ages and Renaissance

Their guest database provides access to a PBS Nova site:

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Medieval Siege:

Web Site Overview:

*Medieval Arms Race The trebuchet was only the most frightening of the weapons early European warriors employed in siege warfare. They also relied on battering rams, siege towers, tunnels - anything to gain access to a castle. Defenders, meanwhile, had a few tricks of their own.

*NOVA Builds a Trebuchet:

Step through this series of photographs to learn about how NOVA and a team of master builders from England, Germany, France, and the United States tried to reconstruct one of the most destructive of medieval weapons: a giant trebuchet.

* Life in a Castle:

What would it be like to live in a medieval castle? Read this interview with British military historian Richard Holmes to find out about its cleanliness, sleeping arrangements, the role of women, and more. (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

* Destroy the Castle (Hot Science):

Build your own online trebuchet, taking into consideration such factors as missile weight, sling length, and counterweight design, and see if your invention can crush a castle wall. (Shockwave plug-in required.) (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

Images of the Middle Ages

This site provides many good images of the middle ages which can be enlarged. Great accents for reports and study of this time period.

Interactive Software

Build a medieval castle or play an online game about heraldry and medieval life!

This What You Need to Know About in partnership with connects you to Melissa Snell, guide of the Medieval times site. Browse through the most frequently asked questions, then scroll down to click on her email to ask her your question about medieval times.

Part 1: For your individual project, you will choose from the following list of people from the feudal age to do your research: son or daughter of the lord of the castle, a squire, a merchant’s son or daughter, a nursemaid, a serf / farmer, the cook’s helper, a goat herder or shepherd, monk in training, nobleman’s son in fostering, musician / troubadour, a laundress, milkmaid, baker, carpenter or mason, wandering scholar, stableman, a midwife’s apprentice, soldier, king, queen, bishop, baron, peddler, central lord, minstrel, peasant, page or an explorer.

As you do your research, think about the following questions:

  • Who are you?

  • What has your life been like during your childhood and adolescence?

  • What is your world like?

  • What is your job? Did you choose your job?

  • What contribution are you making to feudal society?

  • Is your position similar to any in our world today?

    1. Write the above questions on 4 x 6 index cards and make notes as you do your research.

    2. Use the Inspiration idea map to organize your thoughts from your cards.

    3. Then use the cards and idea map to create your video presentation.

    4. A
      lso, think about what your costume should be. You will wear your costume at our medieval feast at the end of our unit. This website might be helpful.

Medieval European Costume Links from The Costumer's Manifesto

Are you interested in how they dressed in Medieval times? This site links to several online resources.

Part 2: For your group project, you will be responsible for researching and presenting a topic of medieval times.

  1. Choose your topic and organize group.

  2. Assign duties within the group.

  3. Write questions for your topic at the top of 4 x 6 cards.

  4. Begin your research making notes on 4 x 6 cards.

  5. The cards will be used to create a multi-media presentation on your topic using PowerPoint or Hyperstudio.

Choose from the following topics:

  • Feudalism

    1. What is Feudalism and how did it work?

    2. What were the four classes of Feudalism?

    3. What are some advantages and disadvantages of Feudalism?

    4. Would Feudalism work in today’s world?

  • K

  1. How did someone become eligible to become a knight?

  2. What were the stages in becoming a knight?

  3. How was a name chosen for a knight?

  4. What were the different levels of knights?

  5. Is there a position in today’s world that would be similar to being a knight?

  • Education

  1. What kind of education did people receive?

  2. Who was given an education?

  3. Who was responsible for educating people?

  4. What kinds of buildings were used for schools?

  5. What this a good way to provide an education?

  6. How was it different from our education system today?

  • M

  1. Who was responsible for practicing medicine?

  2. What were some of the diseases?

  3. What were the causes of these diseases?

  4. What kinds of medicines were used?

  5. How is it different from how medicine is practiced today?


Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Medicine during the medieval period changed in a number of ways, often for the worse.

Related Website:

Health from Annenberg/CPB site about health and medicine during the Middle Ages

  • Castles

  1. H
    ow were castles constructed inside and out?

  2. Who lived in the castles?

  3. How did someone come to live in a castle?

  4. How were castles defended?

  5. Does anyone live in a castle today?


Castle Learning Center

Castle Learning Center’s site dedicated to the study and promotion of British castles.

Castles on theWeb

This site is meant to organize and offer to the world all the sites that offer information about castles. A search box allows you to search for information or with one click you can ask a question. A great site for those who love castles!

Ian's Land of Castles by I. Burns

Lots of good links to castle sites!

Inspiration Template: Use this template to help organize your thoughts as you do your research.


Individual Video Presentation

Group Research Project and Multi-Media PresentationFor the group project, students will evaluate each other’s degree of cooperation and contribution.
Adult/Teacher Materials:
The Middle Ages: Twelve Activities Take Students Back in Time!

Learn how a unit on the Middle Ages inspired great writing among fourth and fifth graders in Chandler, Arizona. Included: 12 great activities for teaching about the Middle Ages.

Iter: Gateway to Middle Ages and Renaissance

Their guest database provides access to a PBS Nova site:

* Resources

* Teacher's Guide:

In this activity, students design and build a working model of a trebuchet to demonstrate the power of a Class 1 lever. (Grades 6-8)

Times Medieval (Grades K-5) from Discovery School

Knights in shining armor, tales of valor and bravery, magnificent castles rising out of the mist-they're all here in this four-part lesson (Accompanies a TLC video series) that looks at the Age of Chivalry.

Medieval Times—A Novel Study Using Literature Circles (Grades 6-8) from C·R·E·A·T·E for Mississippi

This cooperative novel study is done in conjunction with a history emphasis on the Middle Ages.

Medieval Feasts (Grades 3-4) by C. Cox, N. Kessler, K. Helton and S. Hanson from AskERIC . . .

To familiarize students with a social aspect of the Middle Ages, with great feast being the focus of this lesson.

Catherine Called Birdie (Grades 6-9) by M. Densmore & J. Nolasco from Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE)

This cyberguide for the Karen Cushman book, Catherine, Called Birdy addresses the girl, Catherine, moving into adolescence and her objections to the many rich suitors arranged by her father. It also focuses on Christianity in the Middle Ages.


After individual and group projects have been completed and evaluated, they will be presented again at a Medieval Celebration. This will include a feast as well as medieval games and crafts. You must come to the celebration dressed as the medieval person you researched. It is my hope that you have enjoyed this exploration of the medieval period of history and understand its effect on the life we live today.

Created by Kathy Sunday IUPUI – Indianapolis June 20, 2003

Level: Middle School

Time Frame for Unit: approximately 4 weeks

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