Le Moyen Âge en France
Lesson 02: Des défis au Moyen Âge 

Submitted by Barbara C. Anderson


Students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the causes and/or effects of events such as the fall of the Roman Empire, barbaric invasions, the Crusades, the 100 Years' War and the black plague that challenged medieval French people.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of political and religious leaders and institutions in protecting medieval French people and establishing order in the Middle Ages.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the universality of the problems of the Middle Ages, i.e., similar challenges still exist throughout the world.


Language: Content Obligatory
Students will:

  • Use the third person singular and plural of the present and past tenses (présent, imparfait and passé composé) to read about and describe events in the Middle Ages using the content obligatory vocabulary.
  • Vocabulary: conquérir, écraser, repousser, voler, brûler, piller, massacrer, interdire, délivrer, couronner, conduire, la subordination, une flotte, un musulman, un pélerinage, un pèlerin, une croix, une croisade, une bataille, la Terre Sainte, la couronne, le dauphin, une épidémie, une famine, effroyable, désastrueux, un conflit, un défi

Language: Content Compatible
Students will:

  • Use a variety of expressions indicating cause and effect to describe their topics using the content obligatory vocabulary and structures.
  • Vocabulary: parce que, à cause de, peut-être que, la/les raison/s pour laquelle/lesquelles, le résultat est..., ce qui s'est passé.

Learning Strategies / Social and Skills Development:
Students will:

  • Summarize
  • Use grphic organizers
  • Work cooperatively
  • Do research and take notes

Time Frame:

Five 50-minute sessions

Materials Needed:

  • Computers used for research (if available)
  • Overhead transparency of list of topics (conflict and challenges) and resources (see Attachments below)
  • Graphic organizer (see Attachments)

Description of Assessment (Performance Project):

Class will review the list of conflits et défis established at the end of the Introductory Lesson.

Students will predict possible causes and effects.

Teacher (or a student) will take notes on an overhead transparency.

During Task
Teacher will divide students into groups of four students (numbers may be adjusted depending on the size of the class). 

Each group will have a topic to research (chosen randomly from the list of conflicts and challenges). If computers are available, class time will be dedicated to online search.  Students will be encouraged to explore historical web sites to explore their topic and complete the task (completing a graphic organizer).

After researching the topic, groups must list possible causes and effects for their event on a graphic organizer and write a one-paragraph summary in the past tense. 

Then the class will meet in four larger groups (six per group), and do a jigsaw, that is, one person from each small group will present to the others.

Following the presentations, each group must list three similarities and three differences among the events described and answer the question: Why was this event a challenge for people living in the Middle Ages in France? (Pourquoi est-ce que cet événement représentait un défi pour les Français au Moyen Âge?)

The speaker from each group will present the group's list of similarities and differences as well as their answer to the discussion question (see pre-task).

Class will brainstorm a list of current events that have similar causes and/ or effects.  

Possible extension (additional activity):  students could be asked to communicate with experts of the historical timeframe studied.  One possible activity would be to ask students to consult an online expert available at one of the following web sites which provide a free resource to learners around the world.  They will then need to include the information they have learned from those communications in their reports.


Multiple choice test created by students. Each group (the original groups) writes 4 questions about their topic. Teacher will edit them and compile them into a test.

References and Resources:

Caselli, Giovanni, (1998). La Vie privée des Hommes: "Des Celtes aux Chevaliers du Moyen Age...". Paris: Hachette Jeunesse.

Lenard, Yvone, (1997). Trésors du temps. New York: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.

Miquel, Pierre, (1983). La Vie privée des Hommes: Histoire des Français. Paris: Hachette.


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

(L2 grorg) This graphic organizer to show causes and effects will be used by each group during the task.

(L2 liste&res) This list of challenges and resources (books and websites) will be distributed to students or displayed on an overhead during the pre-task.