This brainstorming activity would be ideal for a Think-Pair-Share activity to break up a lecture or read aloud and allow students some time to process information. Once students have a pretty good idea of what the Crusades were, have them read what a call to arms could have looked like.
A Crusade is called! Take Up the Cross! 1095 A.D.
My Christian brothers and sisters!
“Listen up my Christian brethren! Something has happened in our beloved Holy Land that has forced me to write this letter to you. You know that for years we Christians have been making pilgrimages to our Holy Land, Jerusalem, without harm. The Muslims living in the Holy Land have always allowed us to go to Jerusalem. Now, there is word from my Christian brothers and sisters that this good will towards us has ended. A different group of Muslims have taken over the Holy Land and they have started killing any Christians who try to visit it. My Christians I implore you to take up arms against the Muslims and take back Jerusalem. I promise you everlasting life in heaven if you go.”
Your Pope- Urban II
After reading this heartfelt plea it was many a Christians’ duty to think about what they were going to do. Brainstorm some reasons as to why people would have risked their lives to go fight for Jerusalem.
Possible student responses:
People joined the Crusades for many reasons. Some felt it was their duty to God to win the Holy Land from the Muslims. Some fought because they liked the adventure and war. Others agreed to fight in exchange for their freedom from prison! Some joined in the hope of bettering themselves by winning wealth and land from the conquered Muslims.
Alia Klein, "Join or Die," April 2005. Lesson Plan/Brainstorm Activity.