Beacon Unit Plan Library

In Days of Old, Before Columbus

Sandi King
Beacon Learning Center (Bay District Schools)


In Days of Old, Before Columbus introduces third graders to developments in history prior to the Renaissance with focus on 12th century Europe (1200-1300). Students will be actively involved in learning about the feudal system of government and aspects of family life in the different classes within this system. Students will learn about early transportation and communication and how they affected the lives of the people. Students will explore trade, cultural and intellectual achievements, and scientific and technological advancements of the time. Time lines will be built and used extensively as a visual assistant to students.


How are our lives affected by the advancements made during the Middle Ages?


The planned duration of this activity is 16 days.

Associated Files

PowerPoint 1     File Extension:  ppt

PowerPoint 2     File Extension:  ppt

PowerPoint 3     File Extension:  ppt

Unit Plan Overview (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Diagnostic Assessment (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 1 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 2 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 3 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 4 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Student Information Checklist (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Lesson Plans

Travel Back in Time
Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? This introductory lesson for the unit In Days of Old, Before Columbus, emphasizes use of a timeline with students developing their own timelines. Students view a Student Web Lesson, Travel to Days of Old, which gives an overview of the Middle Ages.

Kings, Knights, and Countrymen
Have you ever wanted to travel back to the time of kings and knights? This lesson plan provides students with a look back in time into the feudal form of government. Aspects of family life from the different classes are presented. Life styles of nobles and commoners are compared and contrasted.

Passages of Man and Word
This lesson uses timelines and a variety of sources to provide understanding of selected developments in transportation and written communication prior to the Renaissance and how these changes affected the lives of people.

Times Are Changing
Times Are Changing is the final lesson plan in the unit, In Days of Old, Before Columbus. Students explore the need for trade, cultural and intellectual achievements, and scientific and technological advancements emphasizing how these achievements affect modern day.

Web Links

Students are introduced to the Middle Ages as they follow a troubadour's story.
Travel to Days of Old

The student understands the history of written communication from pictographs to alphabets.
Get the Message

Students understand the reason for the feudal form of government and the different aspects of feudalism.
A Knight in the Night

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