Using worksheets, readings, a fun game, and a brief PowerPoint, students learn about "Bad King John," the circumstances leading to the signing of the Magna Carta in Medieval England, and the larger historical significance of this document. The lesson uses primary source excerpts and analysis and provides a variety of discussion opportunities and writing activities. A thorough teacher guide and answer key is included.
The lesson begins with a fun "Do Now" question linking students' knowledge about the Robin Hood story to the context of the time period in England.
After a brief historical summary reading and class discussion, students play the role of King John's barons in groups as they analyze primary source excerpts helping them to determine just how "bad" King John the Bad really was. Groups use their answers and new knowledge to play a short but highly competitive game of "Pin the Magna Carta on Bad King John!" Your students will remember this activity all year long!
Students then analyze selected articles from the Magna Carta to determine how they responded to the peoples' grievances, with the opportunity to earn more points for their teams. They finish with discussion questions and a summative writing activity in which they analyze the significance of the Magna Carta for England.
This lesson covers all the key points students must know about this subject for state assessments, and is completely Common Core aligned. For further details about the evolution of English government during the Middle Ages, check out this engaging lesson here.
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