Lesson: England and France become Nations

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Lesson Objective

We will study how today’s democratic traditions stem from when nations were first developing, by understand the causes and effects of nations developing. We will show what we learn by using a learning menu to choose ways to demonstrate understanding and create a final product.

Lesson Plan


Social Studies

7th Grade


Key Vocabulary:

Common law

Magna Carta


Estates General



William the Conqueror

Relevance/Rationale:  (Why are the outcomes of this lesson important in the real world?  Why are these outcomes essential for future learning?)

Students will understand where modern ideas of democracy stemmed from.

 Guiding Questions:

(Questions asked throughout lesson)

  1. Why did nations begin to develop (causes)?
  2. When England and France became nations, did living conditions improve?
  3. What practices can you name that are present today that are similar to the governing practices back then?


Causes and Effects of Nations Developing


Drip: Modern democracy

Review/Connections of Previous Lessons:  (Student- Teacher discussion)

We will review the living conditions under feudalism and predict what might come out of such a system (revolution, war, nothing). 

Warm-Up: (Why did you choose this task?  Is it data driven?) 10 min


  • Teacher will give students copy of a map of Europe in the 14th Century.
  • T will ask students to complete questions that are on the map and on the board.  Questions ask them to look at the geography of the map and make predictions.
  • T will ask students to work quietly.
  • T will ask students to share out their answers with the class.
  • T will write down student responses on the board.
  • T will expect student’s to make a variety of plausible predictions based on the map.
  • T will use the information student’s share out as an informal pre-assessment on their map and prediction skills.
  • T will tell students we are about to focus on one of the foundations of 1400-1650: nation building in Europe and France.
  • T will tell the Students that understanding where democratic traditions came from is necessary to learn before studying about modern ideas of trials, law and rights.
  • T will have students internalize the objective.


  • Students will follow directions on setting up new journal page.
  • S will share out their thoughts when called upon.


(Connect History and Geography pg 338). 

Activities/Tasks:  (What learning experiences will students engage in?  How are you incorporating literacy/writing within the lesson?  How are you guiding your students through the activity/tasks?

Intro: (10 min)

  1. Teacher will explain that we need to study the how the formation of England led to democratic traditions we use as models for today (the foundations).
  2. T will explain types of democratic traditions we follow today in society.
  3. T will use presentation titled “England and France: New Nations” focusing on the transition from feudal states to nations, the causes of it, and its effects.
  4. T will have student’s complete graphic organizer (Cornell notes) to write down key points from presentation.
  5. T will stop after each slide and prompt students to answer questions based on notes.
  6. T will remind the students that the information on their graphic organizers is keys points of the lesson.
  7. T will stop frequently to perform checks of understanding.
  8. T will circulate the room to make sure that each student is completing the graphic organizer, paying particular attention to students who show needs of interventions.
  9. Students will pay attention to the presentation
  10. S will ask any questions concerning the causes and effects of England and France becoming nations.
  11. S will fill out their graphic organizers.

Guided Instruction: (20 Min)

  1. When the presentation gets to slide that prompts the students to Interpret a Chart, T will have the students go back to analyze the chart by answering the following:

-What is the significance of the date 1066?

-Which English king and French king contributed to the growth of a representative assembly?

  1. T will ask for and write down their responses on the class board.
  2. T will make sure that the students are adding the classroom responses to their Cornell Notes.
  3. T will then have the students create 1 higher level question based on the chart and a handout that models examples for them.
  4. T will use the activity as an informal check of understanding on the main concept of democratic traditions.
  5. T will pull those students that look to be struggling after the guided practice to review some of the key points.
  6. Students will add to their notes.

Student Collaboration: (20 min)

  1. T will go to the proper slide on the presentation that tells the students what to do during the Student Collaboration.

-Students will have a learning menu to satisfy their brains today.  Just like a restaurant, students must choose items from a menu to complete as part of the lesson.  What they choose must add up to 100 in order to know that their brains are full.  Students may work in pairs, but just like a 2 for 20, students work in pairs will only be worth half the points because one person will have less than if they ordered alone.  Options include making a “Steps to Democratic Government” graphic organizer, a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the development of England and France, and a letter activity where they imagine they are an adviser to the king and write to him if they are for or against allowing commoners to join in governing, and that the advantages and disadvantages are going to be to their decision.

  1. T will go over the learning menu to make sure everyone understands the objective and expectations of the assignment.
  2. T will circulate the room monitoring the Ss as they complete the assignment.
  3. T will also pull two to three students who have shown struggles to complete the assignment as a small group with T’s guidance.
  4. Students will complete an assignment. 
  5. S will ask questions if they have problems understanding what to do and will work quietly.

Formative Assessment Criteria for Success: (How will you and your students know if they have successfully met the outcomes?  What specific criteria will be met in a successful product/process?  What does success on this lesson’s outcomes look like?)

By completing the learning menu successfully, a student will meet the criteria of demonstrating their understanding of democratic traditions in a society by creating different products they choose to make.   

Modifications/Accommodations:  (What curriculum modifications and/or classroom accommodations will you make for Students with Disabilities/ Honor Level students in your class?  How will you ensure that all students have access to and are able to engage in this lesson?)  Provide specific students if necessary.

-          S with D will receive assistance with journal pages, presentations copies to follow along, and flexible grouping.

-          Honor Students: Students will research and explore topics from 1400-1650 that connect to present times in terms of romance (knights & chivalry), modern weapons (castles & siege weapons), music (epic songs of knights), and women (role of women during feudal times).  Students will use class computers to complete activities on topics already prepared on wiki.

Homework:  (Why was the assignment selected?) (20 min)

  1. Students will complete one activity from the learning menu alone for homework as a requirement.  Further demonstration by students of understanding democratic traditions by creating a final product.

Materials to use:

Textbooks with supplemental materials                    Discovery Ed                                             Cornell Notes Template

Composition Journals                                       PowerPoint Presentation                                                Learning Menus

Colored Pencils                                                     Smart Board Notes


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