Teaching Historical Theory through Video Games

Sid Meier's Civilization IV

The potential of video games for teaching history is receiving increasing recognition. However, the greatest emphasis is on their use as tools in secondary education. The few studies focusing on undergraduate education demonstrate the use of games to create an immersive historical experience with counterfactual options.

Minecraft and the Middle Ages

minecraft - photo by downloadsource.fr/Flickr

It is one of the most popular video games ever created. Moreover, educators are finding ways to use Minecraft as a teaching tool, and one that could be ideal for learning about the Middle Ages.

Gareth Hinds’ Beowulf

beowulf hinds

Dark and visceral, the graphic novel version of Beowulf created by Gareth Hinds is considered to be one of the most successful adaptations of the Old English tale.

Using LEGO to teach the Middle Ages

An enormous model of Westminster abby. Made from Lego . Photo by Les Chatfield from Brighton, England

Here are a few ideas that teachers can use to teach the Middle Ages with LEGO

Teaching Out of the Box: Creating a Lesson about the Black Death

Teaching Out of the Box

A team of teachers is challenged to produce an imaginative and exciting lesson on medieval history inspired by objects given to them in a box.

Got Kids? Get Medieval

kids medieval books

If you have kids or know kids who you’d like to expose to the Middle Ages, here are a few books you might like to explore over the summer holiday.

Jobs in the Middle Ages

jobs middle ages

Want to know what kind of jobs there were in the Middle Ages?

Get Interactive: Teach the Middle Ages for Ages 5 to 25

Teach the Middle Ages for Ages 5 to 25

A list of activities, discussions, and assignments to support teaching the Middle Ages. Many of these suggestions can be adjusted for different ages, but I’ve arranged them in a roughly age-progressive order.

Imagination For Better Not Worse: The Hobbit in the primary classroom

Illustration from The Hobbit

The story of The Hobbit can be utilised to develop the concept of the Hero’s Journey, a persistent trope in oral and recorded literature and an archetype for virtually all human experience.

Take a (Virtual) Tour of St.Andrew’s Cathedral in the year 1318

Virtual St.Andrew's Cathedral

An Open Virtual Worlds project is allowing people in 2013 to go back nearly seven hundred years to explore one of Scotland’s most important medieval cathedrals.

Teaching the Crusades in a World Literature Survey Course Using Interactive Media: An Overview


The Crusades are such a rich source of literary and historical documents that it can be difficult to decide how to focus an abbreviated lesson in an undergraduate survey course.

A Pedagogical Trebuchet: A Case Study in Experimental History and History Pedagogy

Trebuchet in action - photo by emdee

The case study presented here shows how a project in experimental history applied to a medieval trebuchet was used to solve just such problems by encouraging historical thinking, hypothesis testing of a historical problem, and reinforcing traditional primary source research.

Exploring Medieval European Society with Chess

Animals playing chess

More specifically, it provides educators with a classroom-tested lesson activity for teaching medieval European society content using the game of chess by providing background information on the history of chess, a rationale for including chess in the classroom, and step-by-step procedures to infuse this activity when the topic of feudalism is covered.

Building a Model Astrolabe

medieva astrolabe - photo by Sage Ross

This paper presents a hands-on introduction to the medieval astrolabe, based around a working model which can be constructed from photocopies of the supplied figures.

What Kind of Medieval History should be Taught and Learned in Secondary School?

What Kind of Medieval History should be Taught and Learned in Secondary School?  Photo by FRWL

This study presents a reflection on the teaching of history in secondary education. Specifically, it addresses what topics of the history of the Middle Ages are taught and learned and to what end.

Riddles, Runes and Tolkien in the “At-Risk” 8th Grade Classroom


The Hobbit, perhaps more so than Lord of the Rings, is clearly indebted in part to Old English literature and culture, notably in its use of runic writing in the map illustrations and in the story itself, and in the important role of riddles in Bilbo’s confrontation with Gollum

The Pennsylvania State University Medieval Garden: Using a Specialized Garden as an Alternative Teaching and Learning Environment

medieval garden

Since its installation, various colleges within the university as well as community groups have used the garden as an alternative classroom for learning activities, educational demonstrations, and events related to the medieval period.

Coloring Pages about the Middle Ages

medieval colouring page

Looking for printable coloring pages to allow preschoolers and young children learn more about the Middle Ages?

Grade 8 Unit Plan: What elements of the 21st Century have their roots in the Middle Ages?

Page from the Domesday Book for Warwickshire, including listing of Birmingham

By studying social, political, and economic aspects of the medieval era, students will better understand why their lives are the way they are now.

Life in Medieval Times – Unit Plan for Grade 8 students

in a book illustration in Giovanni Boccaccio's book De claris mulieribus

The main goal of this unit is to introduce life in the Middle Ages and in turn have the students relate Medieval times to their daily lives.

Teaching Byzantium


Pinning down Byzantium’s history and political culture, and even trying to determine its chronological limits is one of its challenges, wide open to first-years and professors of Byzantine history alike.

A Case Study of Medieval Japan through Art: Samurai Life in Medieval Japan


A Case Study of Medieval Japan through Art: Samurai Life in Medieval Japan By Ethan Segal and Jaye Zola Lesson Plan for Grades 11-12 Teachers are encouraged to read “Medieval Japan: An Introductory Essay,” by historian Ethan Segal, prior to conducting this lesson. The introductory essay may also be assigned to students with advanced reading […]

Medieval Educational Videos

medieval life 1

In 2002, TV Choice Educational Resources created a series of three 30-minute films designed for Elementary and High School students about the Middle Ages. They include: Medieval Life 1: Two Families A unique, comic and ultimately tragic insight into how two different families lived in medieval times. On the eve of the outbreak of the […]

A Present Day Trip Back in Time: A Travel Guide of Medieval Castles, Churches, and Roads in Between


A Present Day Trip Back in Time: A Travel Guide of Medieval Castles, Churches, and Roads in Between By Kathryn Nash The Medieval World: Life, Thought, Action, edited by Sally N. Vaughn (Houston, 2005) Introduction: In my curriculum unit, I hope to follow in the spirit of John Steinbeck when he said, “people don’t take trips, trips […]

Lesson Plans: Trebuchets

Turning and Flinging: Simple Machines in the Classroom By Jarred Araujo, Jenna Hiller and Andrew Hyde Paper published online by Western Michigan University (2006) Abstract: Students enrolled in a multidisciplinary service learning engineering design course work in groups to make working prototypes of hands-on experiments in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas for K-12 teachers. […]

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