Teacher's Guide for CALLIOPE: Magna Carta
Teacher guide prepared by: our staff.
Divide the class into groups and use construction paper to build a world history time line of events from 1100 to 1225. Assign various countries / regions of the world to each group and have them use prior knowledge, textbooks, and any other available materials. The time line could even be illustrated.
Activities for Discussion
As students read through the issue, have them keep a log of King John's good and bad traits / actions. After finishing the articles, ask them to rank each item: 5 being most important, 1 being least important. What is their conclusion?
Ask students to explain the differences / similarities between serfs and slaves.
Draw a ladder on the board and place the feudal hierarchy on the rungs: King, Barons, Knights, Serfs. Ask students to explain the relationships and mutual obligations between Barons and the King, Knights and Barons, Serfs and Knights.
How did the Magna Carta change the relationship between England's Lords and the King? Have students sum up the Magna Carta's results.
After reading the article on pages 17 - 19, ask students to discuss other languages that have been / are being used as "first points of reference." For instance, French was for years the language of diplomacy, presumably because the European upper classes spoke French; English has been the language of science / technology, trade, and is the recommended language for international aviation. (Recently the French have resisted using English and insisted on communicating in French, thus causing some communication problems for international air traffic controllers - that could be a debate over the right of a country to preserve its language versus the safety and efficient operation of airline travel.) Esperanto is a language still used worldwide. Latin was, until fairly recently, the universal language for the Catholic mass.
Have students read the article "Magna Carta Today" on pages 35 - 38 and encourage students to understand the relationship between the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
After reading the article "Climbing the Feudal Ladder" on pages 10 - 11, ask students to name other historic figures who have risen to the top from modest backgrounds and have had great impact. (One example would be Abraham Lincoln.)
After reading why the barons decided to draw up a list of regulations and present them to King John, consider a situation in your life (at home, at school, among friends) that may be presenting problems. Draw up your own list of possible regulations to help solve the problems, resolve the differences, and establish a basis for a better relationship. Give a reason for each of your regulations.
June 15th is Magna Carta Day. As a class project, celebrate your own Magna Carta Day. If you don't have access to this issue, print out the background and activity. Have students write invitations to the event using a quill pen (page 47).
Research Topics for Extra Credit:
- King Henry II
- Eleanor of Aquitaine
- Tower of London
- Sir Edward Coke
- King Henry III
- Pope Innocent III