Lesson Plan 2 Grade (s)

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Lesson Plan 2

Grade (s):

World History 10


Feudal System


Content Objective (Aligned with TEKS):

Students will understand how the feudal system of the Middle Ages evolved and was able to sustain itself.

Students will role play the institution of the feudal system and Manor life as peasants/serfs, nobles, knights, and King.



(4)  History. The student understands how, after the collapse of classical empires, new political, economic, and social systems evolved and expanded from 600 to 1450. The student is expected to:

(C)  describe the major characteristics of and the factors contributing to the development of the political/social system of feudalism and the economic system of manorialism;


E. Change and continuity of Social groups, civic organizations, institutions, and their interaction.

1. Identify different social groups (e.g., clubs, religious organizations) and examine how they form and how and why they sustain themselves.


Visuals, Materials, & Texts:

  • Colored flash cards.

  • Fake Ring

  • Teacher has directions/script for corresponding colored flash cards.

  • Video of feudal life.

  • Scripts for king and Nobles, knights to go before the king when they become vassals.

  • Teacher has a box of crumbled up paper that look like balls for storming the castles and manors.

  • Green scrap paper the students will cut into 24 pieces to symbolize money.

  • Textbooks (any kind) will be provided by the teacher to the knights.

  • You tube video on Feudal system.

Definition: The political and social system of medieval Europe, in which vassals received land from overlords in exchange for armed warriors and other services.
Context: Under feudalism, the overlords, lesser lords, knights and peasants all depended on one another for survival.

Definition: A grant of land given by a lord to a vassal in return for an oath of loyalty and armed warriors.
Context: In a formal ceremony, a monarch would give a noble a fief and promise to protect the noble.

Definition: In medieval Europe, a lessor noble who was a soldier of high military rank.
Context: The most skilled soldiers were knights, who dedicated their lives to combat, a code of behavior called chivalry, and service to their lords.

Definition: Even though they were below the king, local lords controlled most peoples' lives.
Context: Even though they were below the king, local lords controlled most peoples' lives.

Definition: Relating to the Middle Ages in Europe
Context: Without the Romans to provide protection, medieval Europe became a violent and dangerous place.

Definition: A king or queen who rules a territory, usually for life and by hereditary right
Context: Feudal society had a strict social order and the monarch was at the top.

Definition: Somebody of aristocracy or a high social rank
Context: Nobles, safe inside their castles, were able to build up their armies and expand their power.

Definition: A member of the lowest feudal class; poor, uneducated laborers who lived and worked on the land owned by the nobles.
Context: The peasants were the economic backbone of society, growing the crops and producing the other goods that everyone needed.

Definition: The period in European history between the 14th through 16th centuries marked by major cultural and artistic change and scientific advances
Context: As the Middle Ages came to a close, European society slowly began to recover once again and a dramatic cultural rebirth that would become known as the Renaissance took root.

Definition: Someone who lives on the lord's land, providing loyalty in return for protection.
Context: Through this "feudal contract," the noble became the vassal of a king or queen.



Essential/Research Question:

How did the Feudal system develop and what was it like living in that system? How important where the interactions between different classes of people that made up the system? How did it change and why?



Review & Check for Understanding:


(Response Signals, Writing, Self-Assesment, Student Products, etc.)

  1. Make sure students understand the vocabulary terms, have them volunteer to answer:

    • Fief

    • Lord

    • Vassal

    • Peasant

    • Feudalism

    • Monarch

    • Knight

    • Noble

    • Renaissance

    • Medieval

  1. Have students talk about how they felt acting out the different types of people or levels of the feudal system. Write the following list on the board while they share e.i.

    • monarch

    • nobles

    • knights

    • peasants

and as a class, review the obligations or responsibilities of the different levels within the feudal system.

Activating Prior Knowledge (Processes, Stems, & Strategies):
Who has seen the movie Shrek and what was the system of governing?

Was the governing system they portrayed in the movie, realistic or not?

Do you know of any monarchs/Lords, knights or peasants of today? (e.i. Prince Williams?)

What is feudalism and was it necessary?

How and when did the feudal system and manor life develop? What cause the rise of feudalism?

How did people live and interact in the feudal system?

What interaction was there between different groups?

Was there any possibility for mobility in the feudal system?

What was life like for a serf, peasant, knight, noble or king?


Building Vocabulary & Concept Knowledge (Processes, Stems, & Strategies): This is the building of new knowledge.
-Students seats will be in sets of four, facing each other.

-As students enter class they will randomly receive blank colored flash cards, except for the king. Teacher will select king

-For each Color, I will give directions as to what their position is in the feudal system: Brown-peasants and serfs, Blue – lessor nobles (knights), Yellow- Nobles/Lords, King-purple.

-Teacher will direct the students to what they must do by a script she/He will have.

*See directions below*


Structured Converstion & Writing (Processes, Stems, & Strategies): This is the section that applies new knowledge and closure of lesson.

  1. After the role play, review with students when and why the Middle Ages began and how long it lasted.

-(The Middle Ages began when the Western Roman empire fell in the 5th century and faded as the Renaissance took hold across Europe in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries.)

  1. What was medieval Europe like without the Romans to provide protection?

(It was violent and dangerous, with numerous wars and foreign invasions.)

  1. Ask students to describe how this situation gave rise to feudalism.

(The kings were not powerful enough to protect their lands; the wealthy nobles fought each other for greater territory and power. The kings made a deal with the nobles, in which they gave nobles land and promised to protect them. In return, the nobles promised to be loyal to the king and to supply him with armed warriors and other services.)

These directions are for the substitute teacher to help explain and direct the students.
Directions for Brown Group
Peasants/serfs will sit on the floor and directed to make money from green paper as soon as class starts. The paper is to be folded and cut up into 12 pieces. Later, when the castles are created the serfs/peasants will tie their shoe laces to the legs of the desk while sitting on the floor (they are not to sit on any furniture until the activity is over). Students must be directed to not untie their shoe laces even under attack by invasions (i.e. teacher attack). They must work the land and seek protection from their lords. The money they have will be (e.i. green paper to cut out) from working the land but must give half of it to their Lord/Noble as tax.
Directions for the Blue Group
Lessor Nobles/Knights must be directed sit on the prepare chair arrangements (desks of four) as soon as class starts. The knight’s job is to wait until they are contracted by the Lords/Nobles of the castle. Once they are hired as a vassal they will get a textbook to use a shield during invasions and raids.
Directions for the Yellow Group - Lords/Nobles
The Lords should be directed to sit on top of the desks until they are called by the king to be their vassal and get a fief. The Lords but pledge their loyalty to the king in exchange for fief. The teacher is to give the Lords a script to receipt as they bow and kiss the kings ring as a sign of loyalty. The teacher should call each student, one by one until all have gone to the king.
Direction for the King – Purple
(The position of the king should be given to the loudest student in the class to help them experience the limited power of the king.) The king will stand in front of the teacher’s desk with a paper crown on his head and a script to recite when the Lords go to him.

The teacher should have a box of waded up recycled paper hidden under their desk, ready to storm the castle.

Directions/Scripts for King and Noble:

Lord approaches King and knees on one knee before him -King Nods and extends hand ring that is to be kissed by the Lord. These scripts must be given to the Lord and King before they meet. Teacher is to direct them.


  • King must say- “Sir (students name) if you promise to serve me and pledge allegiance to the crown during invasions or military combats, I will grant thy the title of Lord and give you a fief. “

  • Lord replies: “My king, I as your vassal humbly accept your majesties favor and pledge my allegiance to thy until my dying days.”

(The Lord is to rise, bow and return to his assigned seat and wait for instructions.)

Directions for teacher to give to the students:

  • After all Lords become vassals of the King and receive their fief they are to collect two thirds of the peasant’s money in order to hire knights.

  • Lords are to bargain with knights as to how much they will pay them, Lords can have as many knights are they can afford.

  • Once they have contracted their knights they can start building a fortified castle with their knights and peasants.

  • Give students 5 minutes to build and ask the students to recall the purpose of a castle as they are remodeling the furniture.

  • The teacher is to tell the knights that their textbooks are the only shield they can use to protect the inhabitants of

  • Once they are done, the teacher is to get the box of waded paper (cannon balls) and storm the castles.

  • Teacher is to instruct the knights that whoever they hit with the paper is dead.

  • Once storming is over all students are to help clean up and reorganized the desks into sets of four.

  • Finish activity with closure, review for understanding.

Adapted from Navigating the ELPS in the Social Studies Classroom by John Seidliz & Bill Perryman

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