Lesson Plan

Medieval Art & Literature

A unit to teach Common Core State Standards across ELA and Social Studies
Lindsay F.
Content Support Resource Teacher (TOSA)
Vista Unified School District (Vista, CA)
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Students will be able to...

  • cite evidence in support of a point of view, drawing from multiple sources in various media
  • analyze fictional and historical accounts of the same time period 
  • determine point of view or purpose of an author and how that influences the work he or she created
  • use technology to produce writing and collaborate with others 
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 6 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Prior to beginning this unit, students will have studied Medieval history in social studies and have a foundation of understanding of this time period.  Students should be familiar with the social, religious, and political structures of the era.  To begin this unit of study, students research legends about King Arthur using PBS Learning Media.  They can also read legends that appear in their Literature anthologies (e.g. Holt Language & Literature).  

2 Direct Instruction

Using Wikipedia, students explore the legends of King Arthur and related tales (Merlin, Sir Gawain, etc.).  They can also research art works of the time, such as "The Effects of Good Government" by Ambrogio Lorenzetti or tapestries depicting scenes of daily life.  Students use one or more of the following driving questions in their research:

How do medieval legends and art reflect... 

  • the values of the time? 
  • the lives and experiences of the people living during that time? 
  • the social structure of that time?
  • the religious beliefs of that time?

Students should be guided to consider their prior knowledge of Medieval times and make connections to what they have learned in social studies. 


"The Effects of Good Government" by Ambrogio Lorenzetti 


Another resource for art:  Metropolitan Museum of Art 

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Investigating

Teacher facilitates investigation and critical thinking using guiding questions, such as the following:

  • How are leaders portrayed in literature?  In art?  How are the common people portrayed? 
  • What common themes appear in legends?
  • How might hearing one of these legends have affected you as a European in this time?
  • What artistic and literary symbols are used?  What do you think they mean? 
  • Who created the work of art?  When?  What else was happening during that time? 
  • What might have been the author's or artist's purpose in creating their work? 

4 Independent Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students can create a product to demonstrate their learning using Google Drive (written document or presentation recommended).  Teacher decides whether they would prefer students to work independently or with a partner.  Teacher should leave comments on student projects while in progress to give real time feedback and guide students in their demonstration of what they know.  


Other options for products:

  • Expository Essay
  • Prezi
  • iMovie
  • Glogster

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Presenting

Students share their final products with their peers!