The Knight, the Monk & the Peasant

A Webquest for Sixth Grade Students in an Enrichment-level French Program

by Laurie A. Kirn and Marie-Louise L.B. Halbert





It is the year 800 in France, a country with a long and rich history, and Charlemagne is King of the Franks. Take a trip back to this exciting time in the Middle Ages as you become a knight, a monk/nun or a peasant. Embark on a quest to discover what daily life was like when kings and lords wielded great power!


Within groups of three, you will each assume the role of an authentic character of the Middle Ages: knight, monk/nun or peasant. After following the "process" steps outlined below, you will individually write a journal in English on "a day in the life" of your character. As a group, you will have the choice of creating and presenting a descriptive poster or writing and performing a skit in French that brings the characters to life in an interesting manner.



1. Form a group of three and have a five minute brainstorming session on what you already know about the Middle Ages and the lives of knights, monks/nuns and peasants at that time. Then, with teacher assistance, agree on the roles you will each play.

2. Begin researching your character's way of life using the Internet and other resources listed in the next section. As you gather data and interesting facts about your character, be sure to take notes, concentrating on the following topics:

* duties and rituals

* training

* home and diet

* dress

* leisure and entertainment

* any other interesting aspect of medieval life you discover on your journey

As always, keep track of all sources used.

3. Once you have collected sufficient information, organize your notes into topic areas. Write a rough draft in journal form. You will include a cover page with a title (example: " A Day in the Life of ...") and a drawing of your character. Your journal should be two pages in length, describing in detail at least three of the topics listed above in the first person. Be sure to give the name, age and occupation of your character. Don't just list facts: express your thoughts and feelings, too! Don't be afraid to be creative: you may use calligraphy, decorative letters to begin each paragraph, and/or drawings to adorn the pages of your journal. Remember to prepare your bibliography of resources following the format provided and explained in class.

4. Meet in your group to tell each other about your characters' lives. Compare and contrast your findings verbally. Then, using the proofreading checklist provided in class, edit each other's written work. Share your edited work with the teacher -- you are now ready to put your individual journals in final form!

5. At your next meeting, decide whether your group task will be to create a poster or skit. In either case, your product will depict one interesting aspect of all three characters' lives, chosen from the topics listed above. It should include text and visuals such as pictures* for the poster, and props for the skit. Each group member should speak for at least one minute, with the total group presentation lasting no more than five minutes. You will present to the class in French and dressed as your character. You may use notecards.

* There should be at least one colorful picture for each character in your group. Pictures for your poster may be hand-drawn, designed on a graphics program, scanned from a book and/or cut and pasted from the Internet.

Note: You will have three weeks to complete the research and journal, and an additional two weeks to prepare and present your group project. Some class time will be designated for research, writing and group discussion. You are also expected to work on your projects, both individually and as a group, outside of class time.

The Internet is a useful and exciting place to gather information. Enjoy the following sites that include lots of visuals and even music as you prepare your projects. You will also have access to school library resources, along with other written materials provided by the teacher during class time.
I. Online Resources

General Information on The Middle Ages **All students must visit these sites**:
Exciting overview of the Middle Ages
Your king, Charlemagne

Knights Visit These Sites:

Your training, duties and weapons
Those who fight: Daily life, beliefs and tournaments
The knight's realm: Your daily life and how you become a knight
Where you live
Becoming a knight, armor, weapons, tournaments, etc. according to other students

Monks/Nuns Visit These Sites:

Your duties and what you wear
Those who pray: Who you are
The monks'/nuns' realm: Daily life
Your vows and rituals
Your clothing and entertainment
Medieval monks/nuns according to other students

Peasants Visit These Sites:

Those who work: Who are the peasants?
The peasant's realm
Where you live
What you wear
The Commoners' clothing, housing and duties according to other students

Just for Fun...
Tour a sure to listen to Greensleeves
Castles, abbeys and walled cities in France
A medieval festival at Domfront Castle in Normandy

II. Offline Resources
School library materials (encyclopaedias, magazines etc)
Teacher's collection of books, magazines and videos available during class


This Webquest is designed to help you learn about life in France in the Middle Ages and how to work successfully both individually and as a group. You will receive one grade for your individual journal and a second grade for your group project. Each of the two grades will be determined based on the following rubric:

Individual Project - Journal
Focused on at least three aspects of character's life      
Detailed, clear and organized      
Reflects good mechanics (grammar, spelling, punctuation)      
Two pages in length      
Colorful cover with title and drawing      
Includes bibliography      

Group Project - Poster or Skit

Focused on an interesting aspect of the three characters' lives      
Detailed, clear and organized      
Reflects good mechanics (grammar, attention to pronunciation)      
Each student speaks for at least one minute      
Each student speaks for at least one minute      
Creative costume      
Good use of time and resources      
Demonstrates effective consensus-building,cooperative work, responsibility sharing andability to stay on-task      

Grading Scale

26 - 28 points = A

23 - 25 points = B

20 - 22 points = C

17 - 19 points = D

Helpful hint: Use this rubric as a project task list and self-assessment tool.


After completing this Webquest, you will have learned about an important time in France's history from the viewpoint of people who actually lived during the Middle Ages.  You will be ready to move on to the next exciting period in our timeline.  Before we do, though, send me a few lines via email to tell me what you found most interesting or most surprising about the Middle Ages.  Would you like to have lived at that time?  Tell me why or why not. A bientot sur Internet!