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Students go through their notes on each of the key topics studied this year and decide which aspects suggest that life was "Good" during this period, and which aspects suggest life was "Bad". They then write their findings up as an overall conclusion which distinguishes between different times, places and people.
To accompany this interactive newsfeed.Get students into two teams - "Good" and "Bad". The first team should note down any information which suggests life was bad in the middle ages, the other team should do the opposite. Each student should then produce a biased timeline using www.classtools.net.
This simple but effective exercise allows students to get a quick information-rush of the key events and individuals of the Middle Ages which they will not have had time to consider in any depth.
Working in pairs, students organise a detailed timeline of 30 carefully chosen events into between three and five categories of their choice.
They then reduce them down to just 15 that can fit onto one side of A4 paper, and colour code them to represent 'Good', 'Bad' and 'Most important single event'.
After class discussion ("which events did you find particularly difficult to decide as being good or bad?", "how do we measure 'significance' in history?", students then write an answer to the question "Was Life Good or Bad in the Middle Ages?".
As a starter exercise or a plenary, the teacher can test each team with questions from this picture quiz.
Finally, each student chooses ONE of the events in their completed diagram to research further and then they to produce a presentation or a display piece. Loads of creative ideas for display and presentation exercises can be found at Tarr's Toolbox.
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Events (100 years ago today): 1918 – Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounces the Finnish throne.
Births (100 years ago today): 1918 – James T. Aubrey, American broadcaster (d. 1994)
Births (50 years ago today): 1968 – Kelley Armstrong, Canadian author
Deaths (1400 years ago today): 618 – Xue Rengao, emperor of Qin
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