Title: Medieval Ages steam lesson Brief

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This is a great plan!! It is rare that one comes in so complete and well-thought out. I’m sorry for my back-up on getting to these. The comments in red need to be addressed for this to be approved. (some of them you can decide to accept, some I need more input from you as I’m not clear on the details. Mostly in LA, Fine Arts and PE.) The green comments are my suggestions. All of these are very quick fixes and I expect I’ll have certifications for you when your re-submit.

Title: Medieval Ages STEAM Lesson Brief

Educators on the team: Kelly Salmons (SC), Tish Tarpley (SS), Leanne Scullin (LA),

Jessica Mulvena (M) and Kristine Haskins (Curriculum Coordinator)

Dates of training: August 15-16, 2014 Where trained: Naples, Florida

PROJECT IDEA + brief notes & supplies


Concept: Students will research the classes and use of levers (LA, S, T & E) and design, create and test levers to launch a 1kg mass (S, T, E & M). Students will research the history of the trebuchet (SS, S, T & E) and design, construct and examine the distance and accuracy (S, T, E, & M). Students will research (LA) political, social, and religious occupations (SS) and prepare for a performance at the Medieval Tournament (Music, PE, Art, SS, & Drama).

Basic Plan: Students are introduced to the unit by watching George and the Dragon. Students will read King Arthur. They will be assigned a role and conduct individual research on their character’s occupation during Medieval times. Social studies discussions on the social, economic, feudal structure and political aspects of the Middle Ages, lead students to create vignettes to perform at the Medieval Tournament based on occupations and/or roles in Medieval Society, parts include peasants to royalty, tradesmen to craftsmen. Students write 9 essays on various topics of medieval society that they will research. As students learn how castles were attacked and defended, they will learn about levers, forces and mechanical advantage in science along with the relationship between projectile distance and mass as they relate to the trebuchet. As well as parabolic movement of projectiles and the link that it has to the quadratic equation. Students will then use this knowledge to design, build and test trebuchets. Students have an interactive that helps to show the relationship between mass and distance as well as how a trebuchet works to help supplement their design knowledge. During PE students learn how to hunt and defend themselves through archery and fencing. Medieval musical instruments will be researched and built to be used during musical performances at the tournament. Students will explore the art of illumination and create a piece that is of their first initial. Students will conclude the lesson by performing in a Medieval tournament for the younger students at the school.

Skill level (Grade Range): 7-8

Timing of Lesson:

Social Studies: 2 months consisting of 5- 45 minute classes per week

Language Arts: 2 months consisting of 5- 45 minute classes per week

Math:2-45 minute classes

Science: 6-45 minute classes

Engineering: 5- 45 minute classes

Basic Supplies:

All Subjects:

Individual Subjects:





Dramatic props


Wooden Ruler

1 kg mass

Spring scale

Assorted 50-500g weights

Engineering and Technology:

Plastic drinking straws

Unsharpened pencils

Popsicle sticks

Rubber bands


Paper clips

Masking tape


Metal washers

Small piece of cloth

Mini marshmallows

Meter stick



Bow and arrows



Original instruments

Gregorian Chants

Minstrels music

IT Resources:

www.DiscoveryEducation.com video clips from the Model Lesson plan under Middle School Physical Science, Simple Machines, Levers including:

The Three Main Parts of The Lever: Fulcrum, Resistance, and Effort

Three Classes of Levers

Calculating The Mechanical Advantage Of A Lever

www.PBSlearningmedia.org: Fling It! Students will work through the interactive tool to see the relationship between the counterweight mass and the distance that the projectile will go through a graph activity.

www.tryengineering.org Trebuchet Toss

Source for trebuchet engineering activity

Other Resources:

NOVA builds a trebuchet


Background information on trebuchets


Sources for Social Studies

  1. Prentice Hall World History

Ellis and Esler

2007, Pearson Education, Inc.

Chapter 7 geography weblinks:

Nap 0712- Invasions of Europe

Nap 0731- spread of Christianity

Nap0741- trade in Medieval Europe

Nap0852- The Black Death

  1. Pearson Learning Core Knowledge

Edited- E.D.Hirsch, Jr.

2002, Pearson Learning Group

Europe in the Middle Ages

  1. www.medievalhistories.com

  1. www.Discoveryeducation.com -Living in Medieval Europe- video segment.

A Guide to Medieval Instruments



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Science –

  • Concepts – Simple Machines (levers), Energy, Forces and Motions

  • Goal / Objectives- Students will:

    • Describe how a lever is a simple machine

    • Explain how a lever helps people do work

    • Describe the three classes of levers

    • Investigate how each class of lever changes the amount and/or direction of force

    • Explain how a lever can be used to transfer force in a system

    • Explain how levers can provide mechanical advantage

  • Standards – MS-PS2-2: Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of forces on the object and the mass of the object.

  • MS-PS3-1: Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.

  • MS-PS3-2: Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interaction at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.

  • Careers –physicist, physics teacher, movers, construction industry

  • Project – Students will have a wooden ruler, a fulcrum, weights, and a spring scale. The students will create, test and diagram first, second and third class levers from the available material and test how much force is needed to lift a 1 kg mass.

  • Assessment – Students will evaluate and discuss the patterns seen from the lever project including how the length and amount of mass impacted the force needed. Students will respond to a brief writing prompt to explain levers and how they work, draw and label an example and calculate the mechanical advantage of a lever.

  • Extension - Students will build a lever to lift a designated classroom desk.

  • Students will incorporate an additional simple machine into their design or deployment mechanism.

Technology & Engineering –

  • Concepts – Design, Construct and Test a Trebuchet

  • Goal / Objectives - Students will design and build a trebuchet that can launch a mini marshmallow, test and redefine their designs and communicate their design process and results.

  • Standards – MS-ETS1-1: Define criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

  • Careers – mechanical engineer, physicist, physics teacher – weaponry specialist, ballistics specialist, general, strategic engineer

  • Project - Students will design and build a trebuchet using common items as material, pencils, paper clips, washers, popsicle sticks, straws, rubber bands and tape. They will launch mini-marshmallows to go for distance or accuracy (landing in a pie tin). Multiple trials will be completed. Students will redesign and then complete another round of trials.

  • Assessment – Students will create before and after labeled drawings (designs) and a working model. Students will complete an evaluation of their trebuchet performance and team-working skills and present their results to the class. Students will use analysis and their team data to verify why and how they could improve their plans and technical skills in creating the device.

  • Extension - Students who finish building early will make changes to their design in order to work to knock down a paper cup wall or fly over the paper cup wall.

Math –

  • Concepts – Mechanical Advantage, Linear and non-linear graphs, Measurement, creating and reading tables and graphs

  • Goal / Objectives – To understand the relationship between the mass of the counterbalance and the distance the projectile will travel. To see visually via graph that it is not a linear relationship.

  • Standards – NM-MEA.9-12.2 Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.

  • NM-Prob.PK-12.3- Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems.

  • NM-Alg.9-12.3-Use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships.

  • Careers – math teacher, trajectory analyzer, ballistics specialist, data analyst

  • Project – Students will work through an interactive activity that includes testing different weights to launch grains of rice, pumpkins and water balloons different distance using virtual weights being added to the counterweight of the trebuchet. The students analyze their results to improve their knowledge of the relationship between mass and distance and trebuchet design. Students will then create tables and graphs based on their various trebuchets to analyze counterbalance mass, projectile mass and distance traveled. Based on their results, the student will make conclusions about the best design and counterbalance mass for achieving the greatest distance.

  • Assessment – Students will measure the mass of counterbalances and projectiles and also the distance the projectile traveled. Students will create tables and graphs of the results. Students will compare graphs of classmates and then write a reflection of the efficiency of their design with that of their classmates and how they would change their design in the future.

  • Extension - Parabolic/ quadratic equation relationship

LA –

  • Concepts – Independent research, vocabulary from the time period, visualize, internalize the writing process as a standard procedure for producing written products, apply understanding of various writing formats to connect social studies sub-topics with appropriate writing outcomes.

  • Goal / Objectives –

  • Students will:

  • Define vocabulary from the given time period.

  • Analyze various formats of writing.

  • Categorize various topics and the detail information associated with each topic through note taking.

  • Produce multiple writing pieces simultaneously for publication in their timeline portfolios.

  • Evaluate resources

  • Standards - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.4.E Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

  • Careers – Writer, Historian, Teacher, Curator

  • Project - Students will use the writing process, which includes; research process, note taking, drafting, revising, editing and publishing, with nine different writing pieces. Pieces will encompass the three main modes of writing (expository, narrative, persuasive) and will consist of: expository paragraph, 5paragraph essay, cause and effect essay, compare and contrast essay, short story, vignette, ballad, persuasive essay, and persuasive letter. Topics for each piece are assigned using appropriate social studies topics; Feudalism, castles, Church, Crusades, chivalry, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Vikings, one free choice of middle ages topic.

  • Assessment

  • Student notes from various sources print/multimedia/websites. Assessment based on choice of source validity, topic comprehensiveness, neatness, and completion.

  • Completion of revision process worksheet for each piece. Revision sheets have students identify their word choice (advanced vocabulary), figurative language used, and sentence varieties used (simple, compound, complex).

  • Completion of peer editing checklists. Peer editors check primarily for M.U.G. (mechanics, usage and grammar).

  • Final writing pieces. Each piece is evaluated with a corresponding rubric for each specific modality (expository, narrative, and persuasive). Rubric categories include; organization (sequence and flow), Content (accurate and clear supporting details), Research (adequate facts and time usage during writing workshop), Form (correct format, correct usage of figurative language), Mechanics (spelling punctuation and grammar), Presentation (neatness, MLA heading, bibliography attached).

  • Self-assessment: unit reflection on what was learned, how they managed their time, what they could improve next time.

  • Extension - Write a press release for the Knight’s Tournament and submit to the school’s news program.

SS –

  • Concepts – Learn political, social, economic and religious systems of European civilization during the Middle Ages. Growth and Development of the Christian Church from the Middle Ages to the Protestant Reformation and how it has shaped Christianity today

The Development of the legal system of England and its influence on the founding of our U.S. government.

The influence of the Norman Conquest and its influence on the English language.

Explore the role of Genghis Kahn in the shaping of the Asian and European continents and his far reaching influence in trade and culture.

Examine the roles of Kublai Kahn and Marco Polo and compare the development of China in technology and cultural advancements.

  • Goal / Objectives -

  • Standards - VS.SS.8.4.3- Understands the development of the political, social, economic and religious systems of European civilization during the Middle Ages.

  • Careers - historian, performing arts, engineer

  • Project- Medieval Tournament is a half-day long event with students reenacting roles of various people of society during the Middle Ages.

-Students will act as doctors to patients afflicted with the Bubonic Plague.

-Students will demonstrate the use of a Trebuchet.

-Students will portray a member of society including: clergy, craftsmen, builders,

peasants, cooks, royalty, jesters, troubadours, minstrels, dancers, farmers, hunters

-Jousting tournament

  • Assessment – Oral presentation and unit test

  • Extension – Student roles allow for extensions to meet the needs of each student whether accommodations, modifications or challenge opportunities tied into the character roles.

  • Comparing eastern to western civilization during this time period and scientific, medicinal, social alignments and technological advancements in each hemisphere during the middle ages.

Art –

  • Concepts – Art of Illumination

  • Goal / Objectives – Students will understand the connection between art and literature in a pre-printing press era and the significance of the religious leadership in society.

Standards – Demonstrates an awareness of styles, artists, and art forms.     

  • Recognizes art from various cultures.      

  • Identifies historical works of art.   

  • Creates works of art that communicate social issues.

  • Careers – Artist, stain glass maker, graphic designer

  • Project – Students draw the first initial of their name using the art of illumination. The art of illumination is to be created by students using colored markers. It is used on their timeline portfolios as a design feature and uses the “Book of Kells” as a reference.

  • Assessment – The art piece is published for their portfolio timeline and includes a written paragraph on research of the “Book of Kells”.

PE –

  • Concepts – Archery and fencing

  • Goal / Objectives: Demonstrate critical elements when striking with an object.

  • Applies and follows rules while playing sports and games.

  • Standards -  

  • The student will demonstrate, apply, and analyze competency in many movement forms and proficiency in a few forms of physical activity. 

  • The student will achieve, demonstrate, and maintain responsible personal and social behaviors in physical activity.

  • Careers –police officer, member of the military, athletes (javelin, shot put, golf, lacrosse)

  • Project – Students will hit a picture of a wild boar with an arrow and defend themselves in a sword match. Swords are made of cardboard tubes and the training is done using basic fencing steps

  • Assessment – Students will be assessed based on the relative closeness of their arrow to the wild boar as well as how well they are able to stay in a sword fighting tournament.

Music –

  • Concepts – Medieval instruments and genres of music from the Middle Ages

  • Goal / Objectives – Students will research Medieval Instruments.

  • Students will be able to name wind, string and percussion instruments of the times.

  • Students will understand the difference between secular and sacred music from the Middle Ages.

  • Students will make handmade replicas.

  • Standards - Students will demonstrate their knowledge of simple, basic rhythms.

  • Careers – Musician, music teacher, engineer

  • Project – Students will research medieval instruments. They will then pick one instrument to focus on and design and build a replica of the instrument. Instruments made of cardboard (stringed instruments), paper plate tambourines, and coffee can drums.

These are made to be used by kindergarten students who are guests to the tournament

  • Assessment – Students will build and demonstrate their working instruments at the medieval tournament, as well as share them with the kindergarten students.

  • Extension: Students will learn a time appropriate song and play their real instruments at the tournament.

C. 2013 STEAM Education Lesson Brief

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