Social Studies-5: Knighthood Project

Michael C Reichert, Suzanne Cline, and Steven Skolfield
(Saint Edmond’s Academy,Wilmington, Delaware)

What is Knighthood?

Every year at Saint Edmond’s Academy, an all-boys independent school for grades JK-8, the 5th grade class embarks on the Knighthood experience. The idea was first conceptualized in 1992 by a former social studies teacher and the former headmaster as a rite of passage for the boys. The Knighthood project is an opportunity for students to gain insightful knowledge about the Middle Ages in a cross-curricular manner, while reflecting on the school’s five core values: independence, respect, building community, positive self-image and integrity.

For Knighthood 2010, each 5th grade teacher was asked to create a six-week unit for his/her discipline that was designed to enhance the students’ overall understanding of the Middle Ages.  In Art class, students chose an everyday character from the Middle Ages and researched the customs and culture of this character’s role in society to create a three-dimensional mannequin demonstrating their understanding.  In Social Studies, students learned the structure of the feudal system and how it applied to their character.  To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the character’s position in society, each student created a wikispace, as an online biography, and reflection journal for their character.  In English class, students focused on integrating reading and writing.  Each student selected one book from five options, and participated in literary circles for discussion and reflection.  In addition, students wrote creative biographical manuscripts for their characters.  Math and Science required the students to work in groups to design catapults.  After creating the catapult design out of household materials, students tested their range and analyzed the data.  To document the data, students created Excel spreadsheets and graphs to analyze the data.  During Spanish class, the students learned about Don Quixote and his quest to become a knight.  The students created shields that displayed the qualities that a knight should embody.  In Music, each student rewrote the lyrics to a traditional folk song in honor of a hero.  In Religion class, the students researched a patron saint and wrote a report detailing the saint’s accomplishments. To test their physical prowess as prospective knights, students were tested by jumping rope at the rate of 50 revolutions per minute during Physical Education.

Each task demanded that students employ a different set of skills in the spirit of creating a well-rounded, scholarly candidate for the knighting ceremony.  The projects integrated collaborative and individual work, authentic and student-based learning, and mastery of content.  Every student not only completed each of the required tasks on time, but did so with excitement and discipline.

What we included

To properly explain the “Knighthood Project” at Saint Edmond’s Academy, we included several artifacts to highlight the collaboration between all constituencies, which is essential to making the project a success.  We included an introductory letter to parents, sent prior to Thanksgiving break, alerting them to the upcoming project.  Contained in the letter were all project descriptions, as written by each teacher, and the signature sheet for the students to track their progress and demonstrate completion of the project.  We also included the flyer advertizing a T-shirt design contest for the conclusion of the project.  The T-shirt design contest allows students to not only get excited about the upcoming project, but also to take ownership of their class’s experience while showcasing their artistic side.  During the ceremony, each boy is given the t-shirt, along with other accolades, to demonstrate completion of the tasks.  Also included are several subject-specific handouts to show the level of effort required within each subject.


November 20, 2009

Dear Parent(s) of Fifth Graders at Saint Edmond’s Academy,

On Monday, January 4th, 2010, each fifth grade student will begin his quest to become a Knight of the Light.  As he works toward this honorable goal, he will be learning about aspects of life during the Middle Ages by completing missions in each of his classes.  Through this integrated unit of study on the Middle Ages, each student will become an expert on what it means to become a Knight.

Social Studies

During Social Studies, students will research the many roles of feudal society.  Students will use the occupation and character chosen in Art class to create an online wiki space which describes their life during the time period.  Students will spend class time researching their role and creating their wiki.  However, it will be necessary for students to spend outside of class time to work on their wikis in order to complete the quest by the assigned date.  The due date is February 19th, 2010.  A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of the project. 

Art

During Art and Social Studies classes, students will learn about the many occupations during the Middle Ages.  Students will learn about kings, queens, knights, jesters, and many more.  After an overview of what people did to earn a living during these times, students will select an occupation, and they will outfit and pose their model in the style appropriate to that choice.  Mrs. Downs will provide resources, guidance and sufficient time for the project, but students may want to look at home for unique materials to add to the costume and props.  The due date is February 19th, 2010.  A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of the project.

English/Language Arts

In English Language Arts, students will be offered a choice of four literary selections set during the Middle Ages.  They will choose one to read and will participate in literature circles in class. In addition, they will create a writing piece about the character represented by the mannequin they decorate during art class. Students will have ample time during ELA to complete the work. All work is due on February 19, 2010. A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of project.

Spanish

In Spanish class, students will learn about Don Quixote and his desire to become a knight.  For the Spanish quest, students will create a shield to illustrate qualities of what it would mean to become a Knight of the Light as well as articulate these qualities in Spanish.  Time will be provided during Spanish class for students to complete the quest before the due date.  However it is important to note that some work will be sent home for completion.  Students must complete the quest by the due date of February 19th, 2010.  A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of the project. 

Math and Science

For Math and Science, the quest will be for students to design and build a catapult.  The catapults will be constructed of the same materials, but with different dimensions.  This will allow the students to create different scientific experiments to test the effectiveness of their device, as well as to analyze the varying results from the different catapults.  They will use mathematical skills of measurement and data analysis.  Data will be entered into a spreadsheet and students will create charts to visually represent their analysis.  Ample time will be provided during math and science for students to complete the quest before the due date.  However it is important to note that some work will be sent home for completion.  The due date is February 19th, 2010.  A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of the project.

Music

In the tradition of the wandering minstrels who commemorated the heroes of their age in their ballads, fifth graders will create new lyrics about a hero for a traditional folk tune during their music class.  Students will start the project during class, but are required to finish during their own time.  The quest is due on February 19th, 2010.  A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of the project.

Religion

In Religion class, the students will learn about their Patron Saint, why their parent gave them that saint’s name, who is this saint, what he was known for, how he lived his or her life, and how can they be like their saint.  Your son will do a 1 ½ pages typed report, which will include a picture of the saint, if possible.  Time will be provided during Religion for students to complete the quest before the due date.  However it is important to note that some work will be sent home for completion. The due date is February 19th, 2010.  A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of the project.

Physical Fitness

To demonstrate the physical prowess necessary for a Knight of the Light, fifth graders will be required to jump rope fifty times in one minute.  The quest will be completed during Physical Education class.  The due date is February 19th, 2010.  A teacher signature is required to indicate completion of the project.

Each teacher will add more information to the Knighthood Folder (red folder) specific to their project as the project begins.  Each project must be completed by the required date to be knighted during the 5th grade knighthood ceremony.  Please encourage your future knight to keep track of these dates.  To assist you in this, each student will have a red folder in which he will store all knighthood materials.  One sheet will contain information about the project, due dates and a place for the teachers’ signatures.  Please ask to see their papers, develop a plan to complete the assigned tasks and discuss their progress with your child.  The deadline for all teacher signatures is February 19th, 2010.  Please encourage your students not to wait until the last minute, because this deadline will not extend.

When they have completed all their tasks, the Headmaster, in a special ceremony, will knight them on the evening of February 24, 2010.

The boys are excited to begin their quest towards knighthood.  We look forward to a successful and valuable project for each student.  Please encourage them in all they do.

Sincerely,

The Fifth Grade Team
(Mr. Reichert, Mrs. Cline, Mr. Skolfield, Ms. Lopez, Br. Joe, Mrs. Downs, Ms. DeHart, Mr. Szczecinski, Mrs. Hayes-Hartman)


Knighthood Parent/Guardian Signature Slip

In the space provided, please indicate that you, parent/guardian of __________________, have read the information, as well as other information in their folder, by your signature.

Signature                                                                     Date


Knight of the Light Signature Table

Knight of the Light Signature Table

Attention: Future Knights of the Light!

You have the opportunity to create your own T-shirt for the Knighthood 2010 Ceremony.  The 5thgrade will be holding a t-shirt design contest to decide the 2010 t-shirt.  All entries should follow the rules as listed below.  The contest period runs from December 16th, 2009 to January 11th, 2010. The contest is completely optional.

Rules for Submissions:

  1. Must be designed to print on white or red T-shirts
  2. Designs should use only pencil, with no colors
  3. Must include the phrases “Saint Edmond’s Academy” and “Knighthood 2010”
  4. Should be relevant to the knighthood theme
  5. Contest submissions should be drawn on the attached T-shirt outline
  6. Each designer may submit only one entry, so choose your best design!
  7. Submissions should be turned in to your homeroom teacher no later than morning meeting on January 11th, 2010.

On Jan. 11th, the Knighthood teachers will determine the finalists, according to the guidelines listed.  The 5th grade students will vote for the winning design from the chosen finalists.

Social Studies-5: Knighthood Project

Overview

During Social Studies, students will research their chosen character in feudal society.  Students will use the occupation and character chosen in Art class to create an online wiki space which describes their life during the time period.  For the wiki, each student will respond to 4 assignments or entries which will make up the contents of their page.  It will be necessary for students to spend outside of class time to work on their wikis in order to complete the assignment on time.  Each wiki entry will have its own due date.  Students are encouraged to check the Wikispaces site early and often.  Be creative!

Entries

In total, the wiki will be made up of 4 entries throughout the duration of the project.  Each assignment will have specific guidelines posted under the “assignments” page of the wikispace.  Students should respond to each entry on their personal page which is linked through the grade-levels wiki entitled “KnightsOfTheLight.”  All entries should be based on the research students have completed for their character.  The entries are listed below.

  • “About Me” section
  • “A day in the life of…”
  • Reflective journal
  • Comparison to modern day

Students should follow the steps listed below when logging into wikispaces and while working on their project.  If there are any questions, e-mail Mr. Reichert at mreichert@stedmondsacademy.org

Steps to creating a wiki entry:

  1. Go to www.wikispaces.com
  2. Enter your username, password and wikispaces account e-mail (ending in @members.wikispaces.com) in the appropriate fields then click “Get Started.”
  3. Under your favorite wikis section, click KnightsOfTheLight
  4. On the KnightsOfTheLight home page (with Mr. Reichert’s picture), click the “Assignments” link to view the details for each entry.
  5. To view your Knightly Values and individual page links, click on the link for your homeroom, stored on the right side of the page
  6. To edit your page, click the edit button denoted with a picture of a pencil
  7. When editing, remember to save your wiki often, as things can get lost easily.
  8. Be sure to sign out of the website when you are finished working on your wiki.

Knighthood Wiki Grading Rubric

Knighthood Wiki Grading Rubric

 


5th Grade Knighthood
Math Project
Catapult Testing

In the testing of our catapult we will fire three different objects and measure the capabilities of each model.  We will be using washers, paper clips, and seeds.

Step 1: Hypothesize
Which of the tested objects will be fired the furthest by your catapult?  Explain your reasoning.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                               

Step 2: Measuring Projectiles 

  Description Mass Volume Density

Object 1

Washer

g

~0.5 mL

 g/mL

Object 2

Paper clip

g

 

~ 0.15 mL

g/mL

Object 3

Seed

g

 

~ 0.2 mL

g/mL

 

Step 3: Testing Catapults.
Record the data for each group below

Small Catapults

Group #                      

Object #: Distance

1

 

2

 

3

 

Group #                      

Object #: Distance

1

 

 2

 

 3

 

Group #                      

Object #: Distance

 1

 

 2

 

 3

 


Large Catapults

Group #                      

Object #: Distance

 1

 

 2

 

 3

 

Group #                      

Object #: Distance

 1

 

2

 

 3

 

Group #                      

Object #: Distance

1

 

 2

 

 3

 

 

Step 4: Averages
Find the average distance each projectile was fired with both the large and small catapults

Small Catapult Averages:

Object #: Average
   
   
   

 

Large Catapult Averages:

Object #: Average
   
   
   

 

Step 5: Questions

What affect did different densities have on the distance the object was fired? Why might this be the case?

 

 

What changes would you make to ensure that your catapult fires a greater distance in the future?

 


Catapults Step 1
Each group should contain members of a large catapult and small catapult building team

Measuring your catapult:
According to the King’s orders the small and big catapult being made must have sides that are of equal ratio.

o Measure the bottom of each carton base.

o  How many TIMES bigger is the larger catapult

                                                                                     

o This tells me that the ratio will be:

1:          

Almost There!!!

Use a Sharpie to mark the dimensions to be cut on each carton.
Remember this ratio should remain the same!!!

Diagrams Table

Diagrams Table


January 13, 2010

Dear Parents,

Greetings!  In ELA we are off to a great start in our quest to become a Knight of the Light. Below is updated information on both projects:

Inquiry Circles – Your son has chosen a novel set in the Middle Ages. The school has ordered the novels and we will start inquiry circles next week. Although much of the work will be done in the class, your child may be required to read and complete activities at home. A quiz will be given half-way through the project and a final essay test given at the end.

Medieval Manuscripts – Your son has chosen a character that played an important role in the Middle Ages. We have been busy researching these characters, and learning how to organize this information. The final result will be creating an illuminated manuscript much in the style of the monks during that time period. (Don’t worry; we won’t be using real sheep skin to create our manuscripts.)

This project will be done in class.

Your boys have amazed me with their curiosity, creativity, and ambition. They are really taking ownership of this “Knighthood” experience and I am so proud of the wonderful characteristics they are exhibiting. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Warmest regards,

Suzanne Cline


Original Citation:  The Once and Future Classroom , Volume VIII, Issue 1, Spring 2010 http://www.teamsmedieval.org/ofc/SP09/S10Knighthood.html

NOTE: Links have been corrected and/or deleted.  The original “look and feel”  of the journal has been preserved as much as possible, but the original logos have also been removed.  No editing to the actual texts has been done since their original publication.

TEAMS: Teaching Association for Medieval Studies