The Lutheran Reformation

World History teaching resources for the high school classroom: lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes and simulation games for KS3, IGCSE, IB and A-Level teachers.

Interactive exercises / PowerPoint Presentations

1. Decision-Making Exercise
Are you a Lutheran or a Catholic? A decision-making exercise which simplifies the process of understanding the key issues that divided Christendom in the sixteenth century. Should be followed with the worksheet below.
2. Collapsible Notes
The Causes of the Reformation
The Spread of the Reformation
3. "Play Your Dates Right" quiz
The European Reformation, c.1480-1560
4. In-Depth Investigation
Causes of the Reformation: Reformation Woodcuts [it is recommended you do this exercise as part of the study of causes listed in the 'Worksheets' section below].
5. Self-Marking Tests
a. The European Reformation: Timeline Matching Exercise
b. Charles V: Short Answer Quiz
6. "Fling the Teacher" quiz
The European Reformation 45 possible questions in an endless variety of combinations. A fun way to learn about a complex topic!
7. Worksheet to be completed online
Reformation: Revision
8. PowerPoint Presentation
Luther's Theological Development (by Mr. Fitzsimmons)



1. Introduction to 16th Century Europe A map and worksheet activity, with teacher notes
2. Key Themes of the 16th Century A worksheet and lesson plan designed to get students thinking about key terminology and linking their ideas together meaningfully.
3. Theological arguments during the Reformation A full-length article I wrote for History Review magazine, complete with an accompanying worksheet.
4. The Development of Luther's thought: Timeline exercise In this lesson pack, students use a timeline of Martin Luther's life and career to organise the development of his theology in a worksheet which follows a thematic format.
5. Analysis of Catholic and Lutheran Theology: The Thorny Issues A lesson plan and worksheet in which the class is divided into two groups to consider some of the more thorny questions which both sides were forced to answer.
6. Reformation Terminology: Word List and Quiz Students fill the sheet in (a teacher copy is provided) and then this forms the basis of a hotseat quiz.
7. Reformation Terminology Crossword Test understanding of key terms and concepts of the Reformation with this quiz.
8. Causes of the Reformation: Overview Considers 4 key ideas - the printing press, humanism, the condition of Germany, heresy and anticlericalism
9. Causes of the Reformation: Erasmus and humanism In-depth analysis of each of the key factors.
10. Causes of the Reformation: Other humanists
11. Causes of the Reformation: The printing press
12. Causes of the Reformation: The Condition of Germany
13. Causes of the Reformation: Heresy and Anticlericalism
14. Workpack: The Knights' and Peasants' Wars A self-contained, 10 page workpack covering the causes, course and consequence of these major events - compete with worksheets, suggested activities and debates.
15. Impact of Lutheranism on the Cities Worksheet and teacher notes.
  Historiography of the Reformation  
16. What time period should be used in a study of the German Reformation?
This worksheet encourages students to compare the views of Bainton, Oberman and Schilling through the means of a classroom debate.
17. Was the Reformation an example of a German Nationalist revolution?
Students compare the views of Ranke, Steinmetz and Reinhard in this worksheet - both in terms of the geographical area which each said the Reformation should cover, and also in terms of whether they regarded the Reformation as being motivated by religious or social factors.
18. What was the state of the Catholic Church on the eve of the Reformation?
Historians bitterly argue as to whether the Catholic Church was corrupt and unpopular on the eve of the Reformation. This worksheet allows students to compare the different viewpoints and consider the evidence for each.
19. What were the causes of the Peasants' War of 1524-25?
Marxist historians in the East, and liberal historians in the West, were at odds over the motives of the Peasants' War. Why did their interpretions differ so strongly, and how?
20. Were the Radicals a 'lunatic fringe'?
Some historians have argued that the Radicals were insane and insignificant; others that they were the most enlightened, and also the most significant, part of the Reformation movement. Which side makes the most sense?
21. Why did the Imperial Cities adopt the Reformation?
In the 1960s Bernd Moeller called for historians to get away from theological debate and back to historical issues. This was the question he posed to himself, and it generated a great deal of debate.
22. Historiography of the Reformation - Arcade Games! [interactive]
An interactive quiz which testing how much students know about the historiography of the Reformation (draws upon all of the above worksheets!)

External Links

1. Discovery and Reformation - excellent overview.
2. Images of the Reformation
3. Philip Melanchthon - his life and influence; Melanchthon Quiz
4. Key figures in the Protestant Reformation - lives and beliefs
5. Martin Luther Excellent, approachable site, well illustrated.
6. Selected Works of Martin Luther - excellent.
7. Background to the HRE

Other Resources

1. Chronology of the European Reformers
2. Chronology of Martin Bucer
3. Luther's Reformation 1519-21
4. The Swiss Reformers
4. Emperor Charles V (from Richard Fitzsimmons)


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