So You Want to Study the Middle Ages?


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My 6th grade son and I are currently studying the Middle Ages, and I thought I'd give you some of the resources we've been using. These are all family favorites and well worth the time and/or money!


WORKSHEETS

  1. This set of worksheets can well serve as a backbone for your study. There are 10 worksheet to read that provide basic information on such topics as Knights, the War of the Roses, and the Magna Carta. Then each has a worksheet that accompanies it to check for comprehension and retention. Great for upper elementary or middle school! https://www.easyteacherworksheets.com/socialstudies/middleages.html

  2. I didn't use this one, but if lapbooking is your style, this is a great all-in-one download for a Middle Ages lapbook. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Middle-Ages-Foldable-918759?st=d44190c8016885efa4bdbf3924dec4be

  3. This shows the variations used to create a coat of arms and explains the meanings of heraldry symbols. Then kids are given an outline to create their own coat of arms. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Coat-of-Arms-Heraldry-Worksheet-2737452?st=d44190c8016885efa4bdbf3924dec4be

BOOKS

  1. Marguerite Makes a Book by J. Paul Getty Museum--I LOVE this picture book! It's such a great visual for the intense process involved in making books before the invention of the printing press. This lends itself to a DIY project--make your own book medieval style! Thought it's a picture book, it's definitely enjoyable even by older kids. The pictures are gorgeous! https://amzn.to/3tlosy7 ($18 hardback--since it's a bit pricy, I check it out at the library.)

  2. The Minstrel in the Tower--a Stepping Stones transition to chapter books story, perfect for independent reading or oral reading practice! Full of danger and courage, this story touches on the Crusades. https://amzn.to/3qD6t4h ($3 paperback--a steal!!)

  3. The Door in the Wall by Laurel Leaf--This classic children's short chapter book is equally great for reading aloud or assigning for silent reading. The story highlights the bubonic plague, life as a monk, and expectations within the feudal system. https://amzn.to/3vcPLfs ($7 paperback--well worth owning.)

  4. Castle by David Macaulay--Full of intricate black and white drawings by favorite author and illustrator David Macaulay, this book helps kids see inside a castle. Kids who are visual learners will love this one! https://amzn.to/3coo2jx ($10 paperback)

  5. Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections Castle--Another look inside by another favorite children's author/illustrator. This one is in color and has all kinds of bite-sized tidbits of information kids love about what castle life was like. It also has kids hunting Where's Waldo-style through the detailed illustrations for an enemy spy whose wanted poster appears at the beginning of the book. https://amzn.to/3t6eiRE ($14 hardcover)

  6. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray--Perhaps my all-time favorite book set in the Middle Ages! The story of a traveling minstrel boy. Read it aloud to the whole family. https://amzn.to/38wpZcC ($8 paperback--so worth it!)

VIDEOS

  1. Modern History TV's channel on YouTube (unlike its name suggests) is all about life as a knight in the Middle Ages! These fascinating very real-to-life videos make this era come alive. Videos cover the armor knights wore--how it was made and how it was worn--as well as the weapons and fighting techniques used. There are even mock battles. Other topics include falconry, hygiene, festivals, and so much more. Highly recommend! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMjlDOf0UO9wSijFqPE9wBw

  2. Weird History is another YouTube channel that has several videos on the Middle Ages. As the title suggests, they focus on all things weird, bizarre, and gross. Kind of like the "You Wouldn't Have Wanted to..." series of books in documentaries. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJlSmMy6ldlmCFJjsBw1EUOuGcAbftIOG

MOVIES Finding quality movies about this era that don't contain steamy scenes or violent battles is hard. The cleaner movies seem to be a bit subpar for today's kids. Since I hate to recommend movies I haven't seen, I can't really recommend the classic 1940's-60's movies. BUT here are a few clean and enjoyable more modern movies I can recommend.

  1. The Princess Bride--Yep, this classic has been a favorite for decades now, and for no wonder! All the elements of a good story (adventure, danger, love, and comedy) all within 2 hours. My family just re-watched this, and I was reminded of why I like it so. Totally worth owning in my opinion! https://amzn.to/2OoQzNL ($5 HD download to own) OR https://amzn.to/3cjsCzr ($7 Blu-ray)

  2. Princess of Thieves--not based on real events but set in the Middle Ages, this is the story of Robin Hood's daughter. This happens to be Keira Knightley's first movie ever and one of my favorite family movies! https://amzn.to/3t0qeEy ($4 DVD)

  3. Ever After--I'm not usually a fan of Cinderella remakes, but this one is pretty good. https://amzn.to/30uFkWr ($4 HD download to rent)

  4. Disney's Robin Hood--Yes, it's a cartoon, and yes, it's Disney, but we love it nonetheless. https://amzn.to/3ve313K ($11 DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD all in one)

  5. This one I haven't seen, but so many people recommend Errol Flynn's version of Robin Hood, so...you can decide. https://amzn.to/3qzvYDx ($4 HD download to rent)

GAMES

  1. Carcasonne--not too difficult but enjoyable by all. This tile game has been a favorite at our house for years. https://amzn.to/3tdw99r ($31--2-5 players)

  2. Dominion--This is a card game that plays more like a board game. There are a ton of add-on versions, but we've only ever played the original. Because there are so many cards to choose from and you can combine them in so many different ways, it makes for endless versions of game play just with the original. https://amzn.to/30zdMj0 ($31, 2-4 players--we've fudged it and done 5; it worked fine)

  3. Agricola--For more experienced game players, this is a great one!! A bit intensive to learn, but once you've got it, it's addicting to play. https://amzn.to/30uLllZ ($51, 2-5 players) OR try Agricola Family Edition--I haven't tried it, but the company says its a simpler version of the game for younger players or more casual play https://amzn.to/3ck98e6 ($25, 1-4 players)

OTHER ACTIVITIES

  1. No study of the Middle Ages would be complete without a medieval feast. Costumes are optional, but they really add to the effect!

  2. A jousting tournament can be achieved by creating lances from swimming pool noodles (wrapping them in electrical tape makes them just a bit sturdier).

  3. And if you've got a lap harp (or an actual harp) or can borrow one, its a lot of fun for kids to try their hand at this ancient form of entertainment!

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