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Medieval Europe and the Roman Catholic Church

Posted Eureka Lessons 7th Grade Social Science, Lessons

This lesson is an introduction to medieval Europe following the fall of Rome.  Using photographs the Chartres Cathedral and the Pantheon, students will be able to make assumptions about the era based on the artistic and architectural styles of the Roman Catholic Church.

Required Materials: PPT: "Medieval Europe and the Roman Catholic Church" and student handout

1. Warm Up: Students create symbols to illustrate the definition of each word.  Use the examples in the power point to give students ideas about what to draw but encourage them to be original.


2. Pictionary!  Students volunteer to come up to the whiteboard at the front of the class (if you have one, if not, they can doodle it on paper and hold it up) and pick one of the vocabulary words from a hat. Without using words or gestures, students simply draw their illustration on the whiteboard while students guess what the vocabulary word is.

3. Value / Transition: Ask students if they were able to communicate and understand each other without words. Explain to them that this is kind of how it worked sometimes in the Roman Catholic Church.  The official language of the Roman Catholic Church was Latin but a lot of people couldn't read or write in the language so they often used pictures to help make sense of the scripture.

4. Discussion: Why go through all that trouble?  Explain to students the role of the Roman Catholic Church during medieval times.  You did NOT want to be excommunicated. No way.

5. Think-Pair-Share: Discuss differences between the Pantheon and the Chartres Cathedral. Which is more inviting?  What assumptions can you make about what life was like?

pantheon and chartres

6. Take Away: Students list at least 3 things they learned about medieval Europe and the Roman Catholic Church just by studying the photographs.

You can actually use this to segue into another fun art and architecture lesson if you have the time.

Medieval Europe and the Roman Catholic Church