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Medieval Technology

Medieval Tech

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!

No live classes- view lessons on YOUR schedule. In general, expect 1.5-2.5 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). For classes with two levels, the material is the same for both- the depth of the assignments differs. Younger students should usually be placed in Level 1. Older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2. Each lesson consists of a fully narrated PowerPoint presentation with images and videos to enhance the topics. Students will have access to our learning management system, Canvas, for viewing their lesson, printing worksheets, taking quizzes, viewing/submitting assignments, participating in discussions, and viewing grades/feedback. Read more details about class format. 

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.

Next Level Homeschool is a firm believer that not all learning should happen from behind a screen! That's why we give students the freedom to submit their assignments in the way THEY want to! We don't want regurgitation learning here. By allowing students to use their own talents, skills, and passions to complete assignments, they become even more engaged and retain the information. Why? Because now it's literally in their hands! We receive thousands of projects every year from our students- written reports, videos, models, posters, Scratch, minecraft, songs, poems, skits, drawings, sculptures, crafts- we've seen it ALL! And WE LOVE IT!! 

Click here to view just a few projects we've received from students who have taken this class, and see what YOUR kid could be learning with Next Level Homeschool!


Course Features

  • Schedule Oct 3 - Dec 5
  • Activities History
  • Lessons 8
  • Suggested Ages 10-17 One Level