Lessons will begin in the civilization where we left off during the Summer courses, in China. We will explore the Chinese Imperial Age while we examine the inventions and economy that helped establish them as a world power to this day. We will look at their relationship with neighboring kingdoms, including Japan and South Asia. We will also study the Kingdom of Islam to learn about the many influences they have made on different aspects of our lives today. European kingdoms will also be investigated to discover the causes and effects of certain historical events during the renaissance and reformation of the nation. We will look at human interactions, conflicts over land and territory and religions of these great kingdoms while we gain a deeper understanding of how their influences are observed in our daily lives.
All lessons in this thematic unit will include: Warm-up Review Questions, Guided Reading, Vocabulary, Activity, and Assessment. Google Earth, Youtube and other platforms will be utilized to bring the students an interactive experience that assists them with the process of building English language skills while learning about the history that shaped the United States.
World Medieval Times History
Lesson 1- Overview of Unit
In this overview lesson, students will look closely at themes such as Gender roles and Integration to discuss the various peoples, cultures, and civilizations that existed thousands of years ago and in unique locations all across the globe. We will discover the kingdoms that ruled Afro-Eurasia, and students will investigate the question: How did the distant regions of the world become more interconnected through medieval and early modern times?
Lesson 2- Dynasties of Imperial China
In this class, we will learn about The Government of Imperial China as well as China’s Imperial Dynasties. Students will examine how concepts like Mandate of Heaven and Aristocracy shaped the government of medieval China. We will study how the political systems of meritocracy shifted economic success to achievement rather than wealth and social class. We will answer the question: What happened to bring about the end of Han rule? During this lesson, I will assign a project where the students will create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting China and Japan.
Lesson 3- Economy of Imperial China
During this lesson, we will examine reasons for agricultural changes in China. We will examine words like Commerce and investigate technologies such as a Barge and Harrow to understand the reasons for growth in trade and how industry was developed. Then, we will look at the shift to cities and the results of urbanization, as well as Chinese discoveries and inventions. We will talk about the improvements made in travel during this time, and advancements such as paper, porcelain, printing, and even tea!
Lesson 4- China’s Contact with the Outside World
In this class, students will learn about how China utilized the outside world to trade products and ideas. We will learn how the Chinese both welcomed and rejected foreign contacts, and see the cultural exchange that went on. We will learn about concepts like Buddhism, and the Silk Road, as well as Marco Polo’s famous voyages. Students will be able to answer the question: How did the foreign-contact policies of three medieval Chinese dynasties affect China?
Lesson 5- Introduction to Medieval Japan
In this unit, we will explore the civilization of Japan from about 500 to 1700 C.E. We will learn about geographic features of this beautiful country and learn about Japanese culture, government, religion, art, architecture and writing. Students will read about early cultural exchanges between Korea, China, and Japan, and discover why this was called the golden age of Japan.
Lesson 6- Japan’s Golden Age
In this lesson, we will study the Heian reign of Japan. We will read about the rise of the powerful Fujiwara Family, and how important rank and social status were during this time. Students will learn words such as Courtiers and Kemari to see fashion, beauty, and entertainment of the aristocrats during this time. As we uncover the artistic mediums of the period, we will discover how women became Japan’s leading writers. Students will be able to answer the question: Why was lady Murasaki an important figure in Japan’s history?
Lesson 7- Japanese Warrior Class
This lesson will focus on the ancient Japanese military class of citizens known as the Samurai. Students will learn about the way the first samurai warriors trained and fought while uncovering their unique battle style and tactics. Concepts like The Code of Bushido will be analyzed, among other Samurai values. An in-depth study of the life of a Samurai will include the women’s role in this society and even it’s influence on modern day. Finally, we will delve into the concepts of Amida Buddhism and Zen Buddhism, and understand their influence on Samurai culture. The project, which was assigned during Lesson 2, will be due after this class and turned in as homework.
Lesson 8- Mongolian Empire
Students will learn about how the Mongols emerged as an empire under the leadership of Genghis Khan, and characteristics of the Mongol empire. We will meet Kublai Khan, and see how his death contributed to the decline of the Mongol Empire. We will examine the many spices that were exchanged on the trade routes, including Cardamom and Frankincense, to see how increasing trade led to an exchange of ideas, but also conflict. Concepts like the Spice Trade, and expedition will be studied, and introduce us to the age of exploration. Students will be able to answer the question: How did the Mongol Empire destroy states and increase the interconnection of Afroeurasia?
Lesson 9- Introduction to Medieval Europe
This class will cover the period of time called the Middle Ages, which began with the fall of the Roman Empire and lasted until about 1450 – the period between ancient and modern times. We will discuss concepts such as Punic Wars and Pax Romana to look at how Rome went from a Republic to an Empire, and meet the great Julius Caesar. Concepts like dictators and civil wars, along with characters for justice such as Spartacus will be examined to see what led to Rome’s descent from greatness. Students will be able to answer the question: What does medieval mean, and why is it important?
Lesson 10- The Fall and Legacy of Rome
This lesson will look at the question: To what extent have the contributions of ancient Rome influenced modern society? To answer this, we will use words like Aqueducts and Sistine Chapel to discover the culture and technologies of this great empire. We will finish off the lesson by learning words such as Fief and Manor in order to get a glimpse of Feudalism in Europe.
Lesson 11- Feudalism in Western Europe
During this lesson, students will learn about what life was like during the time of European monarchs. We will use words like Page and Joust to examine the life of a knight during the Middle Ages. We will also examine the concepts of a Manor and Vassal to understand the relationship between lords and their subjects. Students will be able to answer the question: How well did feudalism establish order in Europe?
Lesson 12- World Religion: Christianity
In this lesson, we will discover how a new religion, Christianity, spread throughout the Roman Empire. We will learn about Judea: the birthplace of Christianity, as well as the life, teachings, and death of Jesus. We will learn words such as Disciples and Gospels to examine the missionary work of Paul and finally study how Christianity and Judaism eventually separated. Students will be able to answer the question: How did Christianity originate and spread?
Lesson 13- Church in Western Europe
During this lesson, we will learn about the Christian faith and the way it spread across the world to become the most practiced religion. We will study concepts like Persecution and Sacraments to understand the origin stories, as well as the way the faith is practiced today. Students will also learn about concepts like the Crusades and Pilgrimage to inspect how much the Church influenced people’s daily lives during the High Middle Ages.
Lesson 14- Life in Medieval Times
During this lesson, students will focus on what life was like in Medieval European towns. To do this, they will learn words like Privies and Cholera to understand the health concerns that existed during these times. We will also study concepts such as Trial by Ordeal or Combat and Stocks to view what punishment was like for crimes during the medieval times. Words like Minstrels and Guild will be examined to see what a life of leisure and entertainment looked like for everyone.
Lesson 15- The Decline of Feudalism
During this lesson, students will study the events that led to the power of lords being shifted to monarchs and common people. To understand this better, we will explore concepts like Heretic, Bubonic Plague and Hundred Years War to answer the question: How did events in Europe contribute to the decline of feudalism and the rise of democratic thought?
Lesson 16- The Byzantine Empire
During this session, students will learn about an empire that held territory in 3 continents at one time and was the continuation of the Roman Empire. We will examine the history of people like Justinian I and his Justinian Code to see how the empire was governed. Hagia Sophia, Eastern Orthodox Church and Divine Liturgy are concepts we will discuss while we answer the question: How did the Byzantine Empire develop and form its own distinctive church?
About the Teacher
Joshua Bowman’s purpose in life is to provide children with opportunities and resources to enable them to grow academically and personally. A California native, Mr. Bowman began his career upon graduating Cum Laude from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) with a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in Education. He has taught all primary grade levels and is currently teaching 8th grade in Monterey County. His dedication to the principles of service, and individual maturity is reflected in his long-term association with a national leadership and mentoring organization. Mr. Bowman enjoys a fun and lively classroom setting in which he typically focuses on critical thinking analysis, discussion, and the expansion of vocabulary understanding and usage.