Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Arms & Armor - Staff Weapons

February 21, 2017

A staff weapon, or polearm, is a close combat weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is fitted to the end of a long shaft, typically of wood, thereby extending the user's effective range. Typical defense against these weapons in the early European Middle Ages were round shields with light, non-splitting wood like linden, fir, alder or poplar, usually reinforced with leather on one or both sides and occasionally metal rims, encircling a central metal boss. 

In class activities:
  • Listed many different forms of staff weapons
  • Discussed the importance of soldiers working together, in particular the Greek Phalynx formation
  • Examined the use of horses in warfare & discussed lances
  • Labeled the various parts of a halberd
  • Made our own foam and duct-tape shields

Saturday, February 18, 2017

FAITH Timeline - ALL Elements

This video contains ALL elements of the FAITH timeline: ancients to modern. Happy practicing!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Cathedrals - Marvels of the Medieval Time

Tuesday, February 14th

Cathedrals were amazing feats of architecture from the medieval period! To jump start our elective session, and to give the students as close of a visual as possible of these giants, we watched a wonderful documentary on Cathedrals. In this film, students saw how these architectural wonders were created by simple tools but yet ingenious ideas from engineers of that time. We also learned that many of these cathedrals were built using "secret formulas" from numbers in the Bible.

After viewing the film, we discussed the various jobs that were needed to build these cathedrals: these consisted of simple laborers from the city to the master builders brought in to oversee all the work. Students learned how most of these skills were learned through apprenticeships. To bring this concept to life, students picked their "career" and filled out a contract of their Apprenticeship Agreement.

Students MUST select a Cathedral to be their Cathedral they will be working on throughout this semester. Here are some good resources to help students select the Cathedral of their choice:

Cathedrals by Country

Cathedrals by Image

Students can pick their Cathedral by whatever method they desire, perhaps by a favorite country or just by how it looks. PLEASE try to select a Cathedral from the Medieval time, between about 1000 to 1600 AD.

-The Full Name of the Cathedral
-City and Country the Cathedral is located
-Name or Names of the Designer/Builder
-Time Period in which the Cathedral was Built

*Please start setting aside shoe boxes (or other boxes about this size) and good cardboard as we will be needing them for the constructing of our cathedrals. Also, students will eventually need a large box to keep together and bring all of their Cathedral art work and pieces back and forth from Art Class.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Arms & Armor - Percussion Weapons

February 14, 2017

Many of the weapons that we think of as belonging to the Medieval Period actually originated in antiquity.  Primitive tools for hunting and land cultivation were used aggressively by warring factions.  Of these early weapons the first were percussion implements, designed for blunt striking. Examples include the rock, stick, club, and mace.

In class activities:

  • Discussed the first recorded fight in history, that of Cain and Abel, and brainstormed which weapons were used
  • Looked at images of percussion weapons
  • Discussed the difference between the club and the mace
  • Examined changes in the shape of the mace and discussed (in very basic terms) why force directed to a single point is more damaging than force spread across a wide area
  • Learned about the first forms of protection in battle 
  • Made our own leather arm-guards
  • Attempted to throw light & heavy objects at a target and discussed the results
  • Made our own foam "rocks" for use with our siege machines.

  • Look up the term "siege engine" (Older students should come to class with a written definition, younger ones may just verbally discuss the term with parents)
  • Examine images of the many different types of siege engine machines
Parents - Please SAVE your child's foam "rock."  This is the ammunition for their year-end project.  Over the course of this class, homework will be focused on walking children through the process of researching and building their own siege engine.  They will probably want to jump straight into the building stage, but I encourage you to enjoy the research process first.  

For future reference:  Our final class will be a siege engine tournament.  Children will bring their completed machines and compete to see who can shoot the highest, farthest, and most accurately.  These projects can be as big or as small as you would like, but just remember that it needs to shoot the assigned ammunition, and fit inside your vehicle.  Parents are expected to help with design and testing, but projects should be primarily kid-built.  I will eventually include links to several sources for step-by-step building instructions to help with the design process.  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Art: Pathfinders and Navigators

Tuesday Class, January 31

ILLUMINATED LETTERS are considered one of the largest collections of art from the medieval times still in existence. Illuminators were mostly monks who created these large letters, often full of color, design, and pictures. They would close themselves into a scriptorium, a lone room set aside in a church or monastery, for this decorative art. This art was only done after the intensive, long, and boring work of the scribe who was responsible for the script that would surround these letters of art. Though the illuminator certainly had the more interesting job, it was actually a long process of about 13 steps!

Here is a link to a great pdf that explains the history and process of illuminated letters with pictures:
Illuminated Letters

Two weeks ago when we met for class, students did step one of our illuminated letters: Gluing yarn onto cardboard in the shape and design of their large letter. This last class we finished the letters by first wrapping the cardboard in foil to create the "gilded" look often contained in illuminated letters. Using our fingers, we pressed the foil around the yarn to make the letters pop with an embossed appearance. Finally, students let their own creativity take over by using permanent markers to color in their letter how they wished.