Le Moyen Âge en France
Lesson 01:  Introduction au Moyen Âge en France

Submitted by Barbara C. Anderson


Students will:

  • Identify the time period of the Middle Ages in France
  • Demonstrate prior knowledge about the Middle Ages by sharing their ideas about people and events
  • Develop familiarity with important people, events, artistic and cultural creations and dates from the Middle Ages in France
  • Demonstrate the ability to read a timeline

Students will:

  • Develop familiarity with some cultural products of the Middle Ages in France, such as art, literature and cathedrals.

Language: Content Obligatory
Students will:

  • use the third person singular and plural forms of past tense verbs to read and write statements about events, people and artistic creations from the Middle Ages in France using the content obligatory vocabulary words.  (Students already know past tense forms from previous lessons.)
  • Content obligatory vocabulary: la chute, le roi, l'Empire romain , le royaume, un empereur, un envahisseur, le pouvoir royal, la féodalité, une bataille, une guerre, la peste noire, l'église, le christianisme, le baptême,  un chrétien, une croisade, le pape, un évêque; couronner, élire, regner, sacrer, libérer, condamner, achever, écrire, construire.

Language: Content Compatible
Students will:

  • use structures such as Je pense que (I think that) to express opinions about key events, people and creations from the Middle Ages in France using the content obligatory vocabulary.
  • Use numbers to identify years in order to report events on the timeline

Learning Strategies / Social and Skills Development:
Students will:

  • Work cooperatively in groups of four or five.
  • Practice creating concept maps (with or without using computer technology) to develop thinking skills necessary to perform academically
  • Utilize a timeline to organize dates, events and historical figures from the Middle Ages in France.
  • Use a graphic organizer to organize information about the Middle Ages in France

Time Frame:

Two to three 50-minute classes

Materials Needed:

  • Large poster paper entitled: What do we know about the Middle Ages in France? (Que savons-nous du Moyen Âge en France?)
  • Large timeline of important dates from the Middle Ages in France
  • Cards listing important events from the Middle Ages in France
  • Computers (if desired and/or available)
  • Concept mapping software if available
  • Graphic organizer for categorization of information (Post task)

Description of Assessment (Performance Project):

The teacher will organize class into groups of four students.

The teacher will access prior knowledge of students about the Middle Ages in France by asking students to brainstorm the answers to the question below in their groups: 

What do you know about the Middle Ages (e.g., leaders and governance, challenges, cultural and artistic products, values and beliefs)?

Groups will share their ideas with the class.

A class secretary will note the ideas on the large poster paper. In the course of this activity the teacher will provide French equivalents as needed, thus introducing some of the content obligatory vocabulary for the unit.  A lexicon will be established for the class, and the keywords will be written on another poster. Words will be added to the list in the course of the unit.

The teacher will introduce and model the timeline task (see below).

The teacher will indicate chapters in textbooks (and websites if computers are also being used) where students can locate the information required for completion of the task. Students may also consult websites if computers are available.

Possible variation if teachers have access to computers and web mapping software such as “Inspiration”:

A variation of this activity can be done with one computer loaded with the software.  Each group of students can brainstorm and then share their ideas with the class.  The groups could then be engaged in negotiation to construct one concept map representing all categories they have come up with.  This initial concept map will serve as a backbone to frame the entire unit, providing students with a visual representation of what they will be learning about and helping them connect this with their background knowledge.  This graphic organizer can be easily modified during the course of the unit so as to incorporate new information/categories that seem to be either missing or necessary to expand further if one desires to expand his or her knowledge in a particular area (this could be include in the form of questions identifying grey areas and mysteries to be further explored).

During Task:
Teacher will distribute two cards to each group.  Each card has an event on it.  Groups must do the following:

  • Use computers and the Internet (or a textbook if computers are not available) to find the date that corresponds to the event listed on the card.
  • Write several sentences in the passé composé (or passé simple if preferred) and the imparfait to introduce their event, using their textbooks (and websites if desired) as a resource. 
  • Copy their information in large letters on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper to place on the timeline (students will type their information if computers are available)
  • Present their information orally to the class.

Students will use the information on the timeline to create a graphic organizer. They will categorize the information on the timeline.  The categories will be:

  • leaders (les leaders ou les chefs),
  • challenges (les conflits et les défis) and
  • artistic creations (les créations artistiques).

What is the relationship between the three categories? (Quel est le rapport entre les leaders, les défis tels que la guerre et la peste, et les créations artistiques?)

In your opinion, given the constant wars and other challenges, what was the role/responsibility of medieval leaders? (À votre avis, étant donné les guerres continuelles et les autres défis de l'époque, quelle était la responsabilité des leaders au Moyen Âge?)


Objective quiz based on timeline.
(Pairs of students use the timeline posted in the classroom to answer multiple choice questions prepared by the teacher).

References and Resources:


NOTE: some attachments are in PDF form (get Acrobat Reader)

  • (L1 listev)  List of events to use for Task.
  • (L1 tltemp) Template to photocopy for creating timeline.
  • (L1 grorg) Graphic organizer to use for organizing events on timeline into categories during Post Task