To discuss aspects of life in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.
1 and 1/2 class periods
This lesson is good at developing critical thinking skills as class members answer twelve thought questions relating to different aspects of life during medieval times.
(1) The Dark Ages was a time of danger, confusion, and disorder.
Why do you think the expression “Dark Ages” -- instead of some other name -- was used to describe the early Middle Ages?
(2) The people of Western Europe were threatened by barbarians, robbers, and bandits.
If you had lived during the Dark Ages, would you have given up your freedom and become a serf in exchange for a lord’s protection? (Or would you have continued to farm your own land and risked being killed, robbed, or forced into slavery?)
You can have students do questions 1-6 during the first part of class, and then discuss answers later in the period.
Questions 7-12 can then be assigned for homework, and answers can be discussed at the beginning of the next day's class.
Teacher Instructions are included.