Medieval Technology

Medieval Technology


About this course

Recommended Ages: 10-17

Levels: This class is only offered in one level

Start Date: September 6, 2022. Class consists of 8 lesson plans. Students have 2 weeks after the last lesson is posted to complete the course. No live classes — complete the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $130

Space Available: 

The Medieval Period in Europe, sometimes referred to as the “Dark Ages,” often gets a bad reputation for being a time of technological stagnation. Nestled between the collapse of the mighty Rome and the enlightened humanism of the Renaissance, how could a backwards age of feudalism and illiteracy even compare? We will be exploring the answer to that throughout this eight week course. From the astrolabe and some of the first clocks to trebuchets and the crossbow, we will be taking a look at a variety of technologies that erupted during the Middle Ages. The importance of these crucial but sometimes seemingly insignificant inventions, like the stirrup, will be the focus of this course. Join me, as we take a trip into the often overlooked world of Medieval technology!

This class is not recommended for most children under 10 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!).

LESSON PLANS: This is an 8 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION: There are weekly discussions about the lesson plan with the instructor. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Material is the same for both levels, it’s the depth of the assignments that is the main difference. Most weeks, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All quizzes, labs, and online assessments automatically receive a grade in the system. You have the option of having your student’s individual projects graded or not (all assignments receive instructor feedback). Report cards are issued at the end of the course- one for ungraded students and one for graded students. These mean nothing other than for your own records or reporting purposes. We do not maintain copies.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

Week 1: The Medieval Period

This week will serve as an introduction to the Medieval Period (approx. 600-1500CE). We will take a look at the fall of Rome and how that influenced society in Europe. This week will set the stage for the Medieval Period and bridge the gap between antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Week 2: The Medieval Period

This second week will be our final week of introduction into the period. This week will dive into the depths of the Middle Ages. We will look at important figures, like Pope Urban II and Charles Martel, and important groups, like the Scandinavians and the Saracens. The first week will act as an introduction into the period, and this second week will be a crash course in the history of the Middle Ages.

Week 3: Agricultural Evolutions

This week will be our first exploration into Medieval technologies. We will be looking at what inventions were created for the use in making agriculture easier. This includes the use of the revolutionary heavy plough, the three-field rotation system, using horses for power, and more. Agriculture meant the difference between living and dying in the Middle Ages, and we will start here, as many other technologies emerge from the more efficient agriculture.

Week 4: Sources of Non-human Power

We will be focusing on some of the mechanical objects that Medieval Europe was producing to aid them in daily life this week. We will take a look at some of the sources of power: gravity, water, wind, etc. Then we will be looking at some of the applications. Grain was ground and time was kept with these new sources of mechanical power. We will even be looking at what some historians claim to be the most important invention in mechanics since the wheel!

Week 5: Islamic Advances in Science and Technology

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the Islamic culture was seeing advances in mathematics and sciences that was hailed as the “Golden Age of Islam.” This fledgling faith was able to spread its influence and adopt Greek ideals in a way that is reflective of the Italian Renaissance. A variety of technologies and ideas will be examined from observatories and astronomy to algebra and philosophy. The Islamic contribution to science and technology often gets overlooked, and this week looks to change that.

Week 6: Arms and Armor

Arms and armor may be some of the most exciting technology of the Middle Ages. The longsword, the plate armor of the valiant knights, the difficult to master longbow of the English, they will all be discussed in this section along with plenty more.

Week 7: Artillery and Siege Weapons

This week will discuss the advances and importance of artillery and siege weapons. With higher and higher walls being built, invading armies needed to find news ways to get around (or under) their defenses. Catapults, trebuchets, cannons, and siege towers will all be on display this week.

Week 8: Fortifications and Architecture

The architecture of the Middle Ages is one of the most striking things from the era that can be seen today. The intense Gothic cathedrals and the solidly built castles of Europe will be the focus of this week.


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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