Activities and topics about the Middle Ages for ESL classes

Summary: Interesting activities and topics about the Middle Ages for ESL classes

Interesting activities and topics about the Middle Ages for ESL classes



Students design gargoyles for modern buildings, e.g. metal ones for Guggenheim in Bilbao



Students design armour for a present policeman, solider, American football player or teacher in a rough school using medieval technology



Students play a board game on taking a pilgrimage, role-playing difficult situations such as meeting bandits and pirates


Humane inhumanity

Students roleplay a lord and someone who is trying to persuade him to improve the treatment of suspects and prisoners. They have to come to a compromise position, e.g. still using the rack but stopping when you have stretched someone by two centimetres


Just like a jester

Students redesign a jester's costume using modern technology like flashing lights and a jet pack


War of the Ages

Students imagine that a medieval army is being attacked by a small band of modern soldiers and have to think up the tactics and weapons the older army could use to win without using any technology that didn't exist at that time


Modern apprenticeships

Students draw posters advertise medieval apprenticeships they have designed for modern jobs, e.g. for supermarket shop assistant you sleep in the shop and only get bed and board for the first 7 years but after 20 years you can take over the whole supermarket, or for diving instructor you spend the first 5 years just polishing the equipment without even going underwater but by the end of your career you have a monopoly on the whole reef


Which witch?

Students draw posters on how to spot a witch in the modern world, e.g. a car that has spoilers that are actually little wings that means it can fly when no one is looking or a black automatic pencil that is really a wand


Which witch? 2

Students accuse each other of being witches, making up evidence


Trial by Playstation

Students design updated versions of trial by combat, e.g. trial by mental arithmetic or trial by Wii Fit


Other topics that students might find interesting

  • Medieval torture and punishments, e.g. the rack

  • Medieval foods

  • Food that hadn't been "discovered" yet

  • Banquets

  • Medieval music and/ or dance

  • Pilgrimages

  • The lives of rich people and/ or poor people

  • Famous bandits

  • How difficult overland travel was

  • Strange laws and rules, e.g. trial by combat

  • Weapons and warfare

  • Training to be a knight

  • Fairytales set in that period

  • The Crusades

  • The story of King Arthur, and the possible truth behind it

  • The story of Robin Hood, and the possible truth behind

  • The Silk Road

  • The plague, leprosy etc

  • The Vikings

  • Guilds

  • The mixing of German and French to make the English language

  • Medieval sports, e.g. jousting at tournaments and early forms of tennis and football

  • How carpenters, glassblowers etc did their jobs

  • The lives of apprentices

  • Witches and witch trials

  • Women's roles

  • Religion and superstitions

  • Monsters and mythical creatures

  • Ghost stories

  • The Mongol Empire, and what technology spread from Arab countries and China in that time

  • Sumptuary laws

  • Lives of the saints


Copyright © 2009

Written by Alex Case for

Enjoyed this article?

Please help us spread the word:

Latest from ' Teaching English Using Games & Activities'

Blocks games for different language points Read More »