Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
Across the Centuries
Lesson at a Glance
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Chapter 11, Lesson 1: The Power of the Church (pp. 282-288)
The Big Idea
Framework Concept: Values During the Middle Ages, the
power and authority of the Christian church and its high officials in Europe
rivaled that of kings and touched almost every aspect of life.
- Tell students that this lesson focuses on the structure and struggles
of the Christian church in Europe during the Middle Ages. Ask students how
they think that the church's values would affect daily life of the common
people, the nobles, and the kings. Remind them of some church leaders'
focus on the acquistion of wealth and power, and ask them to think of
other organizations in which leaders and their followers might have
different goals and concerns.
Use the Lesson Outline to preview the content of the lesson. You may wish to print it for your students as a guide during reading.
Check for Understanding
- Ask students to create a cause-and-effect chart showing the events
leading up to and through the struggle between Henry IV of Germany and
Pope Gregory VII over the appointment of church officials.
- Bring a number of books depicting medieval art and architecture to
class or ask the class to use the paintings on the pages of Lesson 1.
Divide the class into groups and ask each group to examine carefully
five or six medieval paintings. Ask students to discuss together the
main themes of the paintings. One student should list the main themes.
Then ask students to examine the paintings to see what they can learn
about medieval life. For instance, in the painting on p. 287, the
landscape behind St. Francis of Assisi shows a medieval world with
cultivated fields and a walled city surrounding tall buildings.
Have another student list some of the features of medieval life
that the group find illustrated in the painting. Finally, ask them
what elements of medieval European life were influenced by Christianity.
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