Nexus: The Lion in Winter
and the Middle Ages
The Lion in Winter and the Middle Ages unit is an ideal way to link literature and medieval history. The play personalizes the Crusades, the birth of Gothic architecture, troubadour poetry, and courtly love because its principal characters, who the students come to care about, actually participated in them. Also, the unit, with its exploration of medieval relic cults, Thomas Becket, and courtly love prepares students for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Arthurian romances, and its colorful figurative language is an ideal springboard to Shakespeare’s figurative language. Additionally, in this interdisciplinary unit, students explore the Arabic scientific revolution of the Middle Ages, including Arabic contributions to astronomy and medicine, medieval music, modern rock and folk troubadours, and the principles of physics that Leonardo da Vinci extracted from his crossbow studies.
The text in each chapter-lesson is LACED WITH CAPTIVATING ANECDOTES & MINI NARRATIVES THAT GRAB & HOLD STUDENTS’ ATTENTION (see text samples below in green).
NEXUS Cross-Curricular Connections in each Lesson Deepen Students’ Understanding of the Play and Period.
MULTICULTURAL CHAPTERS: ARABIC Contributions to Medieval Culture: Advances in Astronomy, Medicine, and Science
“The play is accessible and often funny. The teenage sons of Henry II will appeal to students, and the fine Hepburn/O’Toole film is widely available on video. The play is decidedly modern: witty anachronisms and ironic asides make that fact impossible to forget. Even if the play is not your principal focus, this unit is a good introduction to medieval life and literature.” – THE COLLEGE BOARD
“Chapters in The Lion in Winter & the Middle Ages provide any creative teacher with a cornucopia of ideas from which to draw lessons that cross the lines that usually separate subjects.” Breaking Ranks, NASSP (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS)
Aligned with COMMON CORE STANDARDS. For secondary students.