We recently finished a history unit on the Medieval times, and I think Diva and LegoFan really enjoyed it. We had a lot of fun making things from the period, and finished off with a mock medieval feast. They started out by making their own Coat of Arms. They each selected an image or two that they felt represented their interests. They put their names at the tops, but for privacy reasons, I have cut that part of the photos out.
Next, they tried their hands at illuminations in the style of the monks who painstakingly preserved so much of the ancient writings. I even joined in the fun with this one! They were allowed to choose any one of their three initials for this project.
We discussed the castles of the time and the ways they were protected. One of those ways was through a portcullis – an iron gate that could be opened or closed as was needed. So they drew a scene of the castle yard and then added a portcullis on top of the scene. The gate made it a little difficult to see what was taking place within the walls of the castle…
Another form of protection was a thick, heavy wooden door. This door often showcased some elaborate metal work. So here’s their take on some castle doors:
Next, we discussed guilds. They learned that people of the same profession banded together and formed a guild to protect its members, ensure safety and quality, and keep prices reasonable. They would meet together and wear aprons with symbols of their profession. In keeping with their Coats of Arms, Diva and LegoFan formed guilds of Storm Chasers and Lego Builders:
The last project before our feast was our interpretation of brass portraits. The children took cardboard, wrapped in foil, and ‘engraved’ a knight with a toothpick. They added details like shields and swords. Then they used watercolors to paint their knights. LegoFan wanted his to remain mostly silver like the color of armor, so many of his details can’t be seen in the photo. Diva wanted hers to look like St. Joan of Arc.
Now, on to the feast! We made a very simple beef stew in the slow cooker (because we all know they were very popular back then!) that consisted of beef, gravy, veggies, and herbs.
We know they didn’t really use bowls like this, but it just seemed to be a less messy way to eat it! Instead of bowls, the people would use trenchers – bread plates – to hold their food. At the end of the meal, they were either eaten, fed to the dogs, or given to the poor. The children made a simple dough and flattened it out into trenchers for our feast. They were good with a little butter (I know, not authentic) or dipped into the stew.
The rest of the meal consisted of fresh fruit and vanilla pudding. We all ate our meal with goblets, but also added the modern convenience of silverware. We just couldn’t bear to eat stew and pudding with our hands…
All in all it was a fun end to our history unit. I think the kids really learned a lot and had fun doing it! Diva says her favorite part of the unit was that, “knights fought for their ladies and that there was cool jousting!” LegoFan’s favorite part was that “gargoyles spat out water to protect the roof and that the battering ram actually had a ram’s head.”