Promote arts and culture, Deepen social and historical knowledge, Develop critical thinking
Through community partnerships the Elgin County Museum would like to help teachers encourage students to be active citizens within the communities to which they belong, as well as become thoughtful and informed citizens who value a comprehensive society. The Elgin County Museum, through exhibits and cross-curricular educational programming aims to give students the skills needed to ask questions, solve problems and communicate ideas about important developments, events, and issues within their community. Through a visit to the Elgin County Museum, students will learn about the museum’s purpose and explore how artifacts reveal valuable clues about the people that used them.
With the help of AC Creative Workshops from Oshawa, Ontario, students visiting the Elgin County Museum will explore life in medieval times through exciting hands-on educational programming. Classes will explore what it was like to live in a feudal society and discuss the influence of the church, knights and the military, housing, the arts as well as study items used in the daily lives of people in the Middle Ages. Students will enjoy activities highlighting the skills needed in many early civilizations. By participating in hands-on programming students will begin to develop an understanding of these Medieval art forms while learning about the life and struggles in a medieval society.
The following excerpt explains the activities available at the Museum and provides suggestions for pre-visit and post-visit activities. Engaging in activities before and after your visit links classroom learning to the museum experience!
Throughout their visit to the museum, students will be able to participate in an interactive and hands-on program highlighting skills of Medieval life. The exhibit and programming will allow students to explore the medieval period, and compare differences in its social structure to those of other periods. How does a culture develop and continue? Students will study human interactions and tools used in the medieval period to explore and understand the challenges of medieval living.
Dating from the 13th Century, memorial brasses commemorate the lives of many nobles in medieval society. Funerary tombs were adorned with images, cast in brass of the occupants. The brasses accurately depict how people lived, dressed and fought in the Middle Ages. This activity begins with a lesson on the customs and traditions of the Medieval population, comparing them with today’s customs. With the materials provided, students will create a brass rubbing they can take home. Using authentic monumental replica brasses, students will rub wax over paper laid on an engraved brass to reproduce its design, while learning about the symbolism in each piece and what it tells us about the person represented.
After students have discussed the tools of everyday people; they will discuss war tools and their role in medieval society. Students will be given a design challenge to use their own knowledge to create a working catapult, in groups, out of everyday objects. Projectiles will be launched to see whose can shoot the farthest. Students will then work individually, to create a small working catapult they can take home with them.
Before the printing press all texts were hand copied, including the first page and any illustrations or decorations throughout the book. Students will learn about the process called “Illumination” used by monks to create beautifully decorated books. Students will create their own Illuminations by decorating a letter that could be used at the beginning of a page.
Tools are an important part of any society and a key that historians use to determine a great deal about a civilization. During this activity students will handle artifacts and attempt to determine what they are. Using their problem solving skills, students will investigate artifacts and hypothesize about who used them, and how they were made. Through guided discussion, students will try to build on a connection between their theory and the actual name, material and use.
Students will learn about the hierarchical system of the Middle Ages, learning specifically about the role of the blacksmith. Blacksmiths were called upon to design many things in the medieval world, which have evolved into items still recognizable today. By creating a small piece of chainmail, students will learn about the meticulous work involved in making a suit of chainmail. Students will be able to hold real chainmail armour to appreciate the work needed to achieve the final product.
Barter was a widespread way of doing business in medieval times, but coinage was also used. Students will discuss both systems and compare the process of payment for items in medieval times to what is used today. In the activity students will learn how coins were made prior to the invention of current technology by striking a coin using a hammer press; a method used in medieval times. Each student will take their coin home with them.
Chainmail and Coins:
Mystery Box and Catapults