There are a series of brilliant resources available for teaching the Middle Ages.
Similarly to Rome, the internet is full of different resources we can utilise. Images of different castles especially the ones located around both Ireland and England.
Without a shadow of a doubt castles are a key part of teaching the middle ages. The question on the Lord and Lady in the castle is a common Junior Certificate question and there is no better way to teach these sections than by showing as many images as a teacher can to familiarise the pupils with the structure and living arrangements. The teacher presenting the images can also lead to diagrams and plenty of videos regarding the siege of a castle. Their are plenty of films such as the Kingdom of Heaven, return of the King, Troy and even an episode of Futurama (Bender’s Game) if the rest fail.
Several video games including Medieval Total war contains virtual simulations of a medieval siege. If you do not wish to use the videos on YouTube, recording the simulation yourself is just as effective.
Why not show an Oscar award winning movie for examining medieval fantasy: warfare and lore:
Copious resources here and ideas do not even require the use of videos (although they benefit greatly). A great class idea is to have the students divide into attacking and defending a castle. With pupils making presentations on how they would defend their castle and the winning team basically a winning debate side.
A final horrible history for the humor of Castle defence and siege.
How can you fight without weapons? There is an abundant of different medieval weapons, two of my favorite to teach are the heavy and medium crossbows. An effective way to kill two birds with one bolt here is by showing the Dan Snow video on the effectiveness of the medium crossbows through arrow slits in a medieval castle defence.
There are buckets of these Dan snow videos that are more than efficient for showing to students and can be incorporated for note taking on the weapons of a medieval knight.
Teaching the different laws is a basic lesson. The main way you can get your best lessons out of this is have the pupils compare the laws of current society and see what the punishments were. The obvious comparison task encourages the pupils to interpret the data presented to them.
For these kind of lessons, why not add humor, with a bit of Monty Python. Portraying how ludicrous the medieval superstitions could be and how quick they were to judge and prosecute people.
Showing off the different buildings present in a Medieval village is once again as easy as typing it into google. The abundance of sources where we can find good ways to show off the medieval village is intriguing to say the least. The pupils will learn the concept of how the village worked and how it was formed in from a variety of different sources.
Video games have once again been known for re-creating life like medieval villages. We could create our own version in both the Medieval and the Sims Medieval.
One of the best resources for encouraging students to enjoy the Middle Ages is teaching about their food differences and similarity. Having pupils create their own medieval menu is incredibly effective and would be a good thing to focus on for the short course.
The the first year history course has a copious amount of materials we can use for making creative lessons and furthermore and positive learning environment. Ensure they know the key differences to how the people in a Medieval village ate; here is a classic Horrible history video which perfectly depicts how grueling the food was:
To conclude these are just some of the copious amounts of resources and activities you can use to teaching life in the Middle Ages. For a very broad area, the section is arguably one of the best and most interesting for first year students.
For more classroom ideas, my blog post on using a creative class idea that has worked wonders for me for lessons on students creating their own medieval knight or dress attire for ladies of a castle. Essentially it plays the same as an RPG game, you provide the students with a certain amount of money and they are to create their own knight by selecting a range of different priced weapons and armor. The pupils cannot exceed their coin purse. This is also an effective class idea for English teachers for encouraging students for themes and character description in a short story and business teachers for promoting students to use initiative in setting up small businesses.