A Medieval Webquest

Goodspeed Grade 8!   I trust this note finds you all in good spirits and health.  From what I have seen, you have been advancing well in your studies of Medieval literature and life.  As you have immersed yourselves in the Middle Ages, you have eaten some of their food, played their games, acted in their plays, made their wares, dressed in their garb, listened to their music, and read their poetry.  Today you will continue your journey….

Learning a new game

What game are Aaron and Kyle playing?  Visit this website.  http://www.jamesadamshistoricenterprises.com/treasuretrove/gameschessninemensmorris.html

Could Beowulf have played this game?  How did you come to this conclusion?  What else did you learn about this game?

Rehearsing “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”

Would our actors be acceptable for our play in the Middle Ages?  Visit this website. http://medievaleurope.mrdonn.org/plays.html

How are the actors in morality plays different than those in mystery and miracle plays?

Doll artisans at work for the fair

Read this page. http://medievaleurope.mrdonn.org/tradefairs.html

How will our fair be the same as an authentic Medieval Fair?  How will it be different?  List as many similarities and differences as you can.

A Medieval Castle

Perhaps Herot Hall looked something like this.  (Does anyone know where I got this picture?)   Visit this site. http://medievaleurope.mrdonn.org/literature.html

What epic poem was written after Beowulf?  How many years lapsed between the two poems?  What was this poem about?

The Middle Ages were an age of exploration as well.  Keep up your own quest for knowledge.  Visit these websites:




Find out how the people of the time lived.  In a comment on this post, share at least five new ideas/facts you’ve discovered in your search.  Teach me something I don’t know!

Have fun and learn lots!

~Lady Donofrio

We would be most happy to have visitors other than Grade 8 students enjoy our webquest as well! 



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41 thoughts on “A Medieval Webquest

  1. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    I had fun doing the webquest! I learned a lot of different things such as:
    1.In the 1300s, Dante wrote the Divine Comedy, an epic poem.
    2.Also in the 1300s, Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales.
    3.The story Robin Hood came out in the MIddle Ages.
    4. Surfs were bound to the manor.
    5. People were tought in the medieval times that “labor is to pray”.


    • Great literary information, Erin. Glad you liked the webquest. Doing research is one of my favorite parts of teaching. I like learning new things! Thanks for helping me today in this regard. While familiar with Dante’s Divine Comedy, I did not realize it was an epic poem. See you tomorrow.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  2. mrs donofrio this is a gr8 blog i learned about play in medieval times such as morality mystery and miracle its wierd how they all sound alike and i learned about nine mans morris it looks like a fun game and the plauge and how in it killed over 2000 people in 2 years and 1/3 of europe in 4 years and i thank ye for this gr8 blog thinger thank ye very much

    • I’m glad you like the blog, Andrew. I appreciate your Middle English accent as well. I’m looking forward to seeing you act in our play next Tuesday.
      ~Mrs. Donofro

  3. I learned that castles in medieval times were usually only owned by kings and they had a huge dinning hall. I also learned that people in medieval times wore allot of hats. These hats would usually cover their entire heads. Their weapons were usually swords, shields, spears and bow and arrows. Vikings were usually not as bad as TV makes them out to be. They were just regular people who killed animals to eat and sometimes they pillaged cities. In medieval time people would trade items for other items but now we just trade money.

    • Greetings and Salutations Mac,
      Interesting information about the castles. Did they call the homes of the Lords manor houses? If a king died, did the new king inherit his castle, or did it pass into the hands of another royal relative?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  4. Dear Lady Donofrio,

    I finished my webquest. It was actually kinda fun, probably cause it was short. But I learned some new facts, here they are:

    1. At first medieval castles were made of wood, and the were built on top of a hill.

    2. Most people couldn’t read or write.

    3. They made stainglass windows because most people couldn’t read.

    4. There was one church for 200 people only.

    5. Most Catheral were shaped like a cross.


    • My dearest Tanner,
      It is with cheerful gratitude for your most kind compliment that I begin this message. Please know that my heart stirs with joy whenever one under my tutelage is pleased with one of his assignments, even if due to its brevity. Thank you for providing us with details about the stained glass windows we still use in our churches today. Now that you have brought this fact to light, pun intended, I find it quite clever to tell stories through beautiful pictures on display for all to see.
      You have my deepest gratitude,
      Lady Donofrio

  5. Hello Miss Donofrio!
    After looking at those links the five interesting facts I found where
    1. The first castles were made of wood, but in 1100 B.C. they switched to stone.
    2. The rich wore gowns over other gowns that they already had on. No matter what they needed to be covered. Only some of their body could be shown
    3. The black plague killed 25 million people in two years and in ten years had killed over 1/3 of Europe’s population.
    4. Nines men’s Morris has been around since the Roman Empire
    5. Dolls made for poor children where normally made out of old bones and cloth.

    • Hello Sir Aaron!
      Thank you for this list of intriguing facts. I greatly appreciate the variety of information you have provided, and you have succeeded in continuing my edification about the Medieval time period. I had no idea that those in the highest realm of the social strata wore one gown over another. How intriguing! I imagine that the building material changed from wood to stone due to threat of fire in the castles. I appreciate your assistance in furthering my education.
      Most sincerely,
      Lady Donofrio

  6. Dear Lady Donofrio,

    Here are the 5 facts I found on the websites you listed:

    1. By 1350 CE, there was one church or chapel for every 200 people.

    2. Ceilings in cathedrals were sometimes 100 feet tall.

    3. Troubadors played drums, harps, and bagpipes.

    4. At age 7, boys began to study to become knights.

    5. A book called the Babees book listed customs and manners of the Middle Ages.

    • Sir Christian,
      It is with the utmost pleasure that I read your fascinating list. You have succeeded not only in providing me details of the era unknown to me until this present time, but you also piqued my interest, prompting the desire for further research on my part. Bravo, young lad! I will delve into the files of antiquity with alacrity to read about the Babees book you mentioned. Thank you for expanding the base of my knowledge.
      With humble gratitude,
      Lady Donofrio

  7. Mrs Donofrio I am here to beat your comment I am hereby starting a flame war. I learned about nine mans Morris a Medieval game the vikings played it so Beowolf could and would have played it and in churches they put them in the seats for monks to play when they are not praying or helping the poor or sick the game Nine mans Morris was made by the Roman empire the game is a two player game only and it is a game where you can force the game into a draw. I also learned that the Black death or black plague or if you really want to call it by its official name it is called Bubonic plague and was first transported by rats who sneaked on ships the rats would then eat peoples food or bite them so when they ate their food they would get sick or if they got bitten they would got bumps all over their body and slowly die during the mideivel times they would out a cross on their door if they where infected. The book bewowolf has been made into a movie and was the book is based on a English king fighting the Romans it was first written in old English. God speed Mrs Danofrio in your reply.

    • Goodspeed Sir Drew!
      You certainly provided a plethora of information for my perusal. While the Medieval days conjure romantic images of castles, lavish banquets, knights and chivalry, kings and queens, I think it is more realistically depicted as you present. The cleanliness we now enjoy was unheard of for even the most elite members of society. Disease was common, and the threat of warfare was very real. Thank you for your missive, Sir Drew.
      ~Lady Donofrio

  8. Hi, Mrs.Donofio
    I learned tons about medieval life through this quest. But, the most intresting thing to me was about the affect of the catholic church in Medieval time. Some of the facts I learned was that the Catholic church had great power over the people so, every one was devoutly religious. Labor was also a part of religion, they taught that “to labor is to pray”. They also, had a very strong belief that they needed the sacrements to get to heaven. The peasents had a very harsh life so, heaven was very attractive looking paradise to them and they would do anything to get into those gates. Mass was in Latin and everyday people had no idea what the preist was saying. The Catholic church also, charged money for the majority of the sacrements. I had fun learning about the Catholic church in medieval time.


    • Dear Lady Alexandra,
      I am so glad that your thirst for knowledge was quenched on this quest. The quote you referenced, “to labor is to pray”, reminds me of a Latin verse Mrs. Roca is teaching her class, “Ora et labora”. I think that means pray and work. We will ask some of the Latin kids tomorrow. One time a priest told me that all my work could be a type of prayer if I offered it to God. That is why I like the Morning Offering we say at school. “I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings…” It is very interesting to learn about the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. Did you know there were two popes from 1378-1415? There was a pope in Rome, and a pope in Avignon, France. This is called The Great Schism. I did not know that until I read the first Crispin book.
      Goodspeed, Lady Alexandra,
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  9. Hi Mrs.Donofrio! You’re web quest was awesome! Here are some things I learned:
    1. In the 1300’s Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales.
    2. In order to tade in the medieval times you needed: strong ships, traders, something to trade, storage and a marketplace.
    3. In the medieval times, chess was almost always played by the nobility becuase they were generally the only ones with enough education to be able to play properly.
    4. The actors in morality plays were hired by the church to perform.
    5. Beowulf was told orally for hundreds of years before an unknown author recorded it in the 700’s.

    • Greetings Lady Joy!
      I am quite pleased that you enjoyed the web quest. I’m glad you learned about Chaucer. I wish we had one extra week to read some of his Canterbury Tales. I had to memorize a few lines from that story when I was a junior in high school. I also dressed up as one of the characters; I was the Yeoman. My lines were “My head is like a nut, my face is brown. I know the whole of woodcraft up and down.” There is more to it than that, obviously, but I don’t remember the rest. Someday you will read that story I am sure.
      Lady Donofrio

  10. Dear Lady Donofrio,
    I learned a lot during this webquest. Five things i learned was that the first castle qwas built from wood. Then is 1100 Ce the first castle was built from stone. Castles then would be built on hills to have an advantage on their enemies. Nobles would sell there crops to gedt money to buy goods. People during battle would put family cresants on their sheild so people would know who they are.


    • Greetings Sir Cayman,
      I had heard the concept of using family crescents as identifying marks on shields in case of death in battle. Quite a clever idea I think. It also is logical to build the castles on hills. Have you ever been to a castle in real life? I have seen a few in Ireland. We even stayed overnight in a real castle! I was in 9th grade then. I think there is some sort of castle made out of shells in Miami. (Field trip!!)
      With God’s blessings,
      Lady Donofrio

  11. Hi Mrs. D!

    I learned some things like:
    1. People in the plays that we are learning about are usually hired from churches
    2.There were many different types of unique games played back then in the Middle ages such as Nine Men’s Morris.
    3. There was an epic poem written shortly after Beowulf that was quite popular because it invovled Muslims.
    4. Some of the boards from Nine Men’s Morris were found in buriel sites.
    5. Some children at a young age started to train as a knight.

    • Hey Josh!
      I like the last piece of information you found. Do you know how young the boys were when they began training? I have read that they were as young as seven-years-old. Do you think you would have enjoyed knight training?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  12. Hi Mrs.Donofrio! The five things I learned about midevil times are
    1. 9 mens morris has been around since the roman empire.
    2.The story of Beowulf was told orally for a couple of hundreds years before an unknown poet wrote it down in the 700’s CE.
    3.Mystery plays were Bible stories.
    4.Miracle plays were plays about the lives of the saints and the miracles they performed.
    5.Many fictional books written in modern times have settings in the Middle Ages

    • Hi Kyle!
      Good information. The 6th and 7th grades read a book written in this century, but about the Middle Ages, Crispin. We read Found over the summer, and the next book in that series, Sent, is set in the Middle Ages as well. I also just received a donation of books for our class library, and there was a Newbery winning book set in Medieval times in the group. I can’t remember the title right now, but it is on the white board shelf. You are welcome to read it for next month’s book report.
      See you tomorrow!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  13. Dear Lady Donofrio,
    I have completed your quest and retrieved five interesting facts. Churches in the twelfth century were to small do to the Romans who had previously built them. I also discovered that they still had different superstitions about healing methods or medicine as we still do some people still do today. In medieval ages they played bowling but Arranged the pins in different patterns. The very first castle was built out of wood. Finally the last thing That I discovered was that the nobles sold their crops in order to make money quickly to purchase merchandise.

    Sir William

    • Greetings Sir William!
      You have succeeded in teaching me five new facts about the Middle Ages! I wonder why the Romans built small churches. Were they short people? I also never knew bowling was invented during Medieval times. We could add a bowling lane to our fair! Do you know what pattern they followed?
      With gratitude for an interesting lesson,
      Lady Donofrio

  14. Dear Mrs. Donfrio,
    Five things I learn well looking at the website would be.
    1. In Medieval court you would have to hold a hot metal poke until your hand is burned. And if it healed in the days you would be considered innocence.
    2. And if you a noble man you would have to fight to see if you were innocence.
    3. Kickboxing was a sport that was invented during medieval times.
    4. At the age of seven a nobleman son would train to become a knight.
    5. Besides fighting a knight would also have to learn manners

    • Dear Jesse,
      Thank you for shedding light on the court system for us. The method you describe for ascribing guilt or innocence reminds me of the tactics employed in the Salem Witch Trials, which occured not too long after the Middle Ages.
      I had no idea kickboxing was so old a sport.
      Thank you for sharing your information with us,
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  15. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    5 things that I learned from looking at this website were:
    1. When castles were first being made, they were made out of wood, however this was too easy to burn down, so they made them out of other materials instead such as stone, and other harder products.
    2. serfs could be bought and sold among the ladies and lords.
    3. Banks were called moneychangers in the Medival times. They served the exact same purpose as banks did.
    4. In Medival times, in costed a fortune, and took several decades to completely build a Catheedral.
    5. In the Medival Ages, regular churches were much more common than Cathedrals. This is because Cathedrals were so much money to make, and took so much time.

    • Daer Jackson,
      Thank you so much for your history lesson, which I find most interesting. I find it amazing to think about the patience required to build the great monuments of the world, including the European cathedrals. Many who worked on them never saw their completion. The painstaking attention to detail, some of which is lost to the common observer, is also astonishing.
      Thank you for your help in teaching us about the Middle Ages,
      Mrs. Donofrio

  16. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    The five things I learned are:

    1. It was illegal to empty chamber pots out of windows.
    2. King Edward the third wanted to ban butchers in London because of the stench of blood and rotting meat.
    3. Before castles were made from stone they were made of wood.
    4. No forks existed but knives and spoons did.
    5. To clean your teeth you would place burnt rosemary on a cloth and then scrub your teeth with it.

    • Greetings and Salutations Daniela,
      I find your information quite enlightening. At no time had I heard of rosemary “toothpaste”, nor did I know the legalities associated with the disposal of chamber pot contents or with butchers. The more I learn of this time period, the happier I am to live in ours!
      Thank you for edifying me,
      Mrs. Donofrio

  17. Greetings Lady Donofrio,

    While embarking my web quest, I came upon a few neat and interesting facts!
    1. In the Medieval Era, most people were either Catholic or Pagan. The medieval Catholic Church is much like our Catholic church today. The Pope was the head of the Church. Then came the archbishops, and the bishops after that. The bishops were then in charge of the priests. The mass or liturgy was always chanted or sung.
    2. Each title a person obtained, such as a knight, a villager, or a serf, had a different headline for clothing. Example – Castle wear – clothing worn by individuals that dwell in the castle. Villager wear- clothing worn by villagers and peasants from the middle ages.
    3. Cathedrals, chapels, and churches each had there own holy relic to establish uniqueness.
    4. Another name for old English is Anglo-Saxon.
    5. War in medieval times was about the control of the land. To take control, they would launch a siege. The trebuchet was known as the most fearsome weapon of medieval times. They were powered by muscle and could launch missiles hundreds of yards away. Trebuchets could carry up to 400 pounds, which could damage and tear down a castle wall.

    Over all, I enjoyed this quest exceedingly. I thank thee in advance. God Bless you and grant thee fullsome wishes henceforth.

    Your fere,

    • Dearest Lady Makenzie,

      I am quite pleased you enjoyed your studies of the Middle Ages, and I offer you my most humble gratitude for enlightening me about religious customs of the times. Did you know that during the late 14th century, the Catholic church had two Popes? A papacy was established in Avignon, France, in addition to the established head of the Catholic church in Rome. Seven French popes served during these years. I found that fact quite astonishing.
      I am familiar with the term Anglo-Saxon, and think it has its origin from two tribes of Germanic people, the Angles and the Saxons, who invaded England around the 6th century and remained until the Norman conquest in 1066.

      I thank you for your prayers of which I am always in need, and wish you God’s blessings as well,
      Lady Donofrio

  18. Howdy Lady Donofrio,
    I have found 5 interesting facts on the middle ages and would like to tell you them. First, in the 1100 AD, merchants, artists, bankers, and other professionals grouped themselves together in business associations called guilds. Second, in medieval times land was broken up into fiefs, which was a trust, not an ownership that could be inherited by the oldest son. Third, The horse-drawn plow was invented and it took fewer workers to grow more crops. Even after storing large amounts of food to feed everyone on the fief all year long, there was enough food left over to support small armies. Forth, in medieval times knights armed themselves with heavy layers of armor and chain mail that could have over 200,000 rings. A suit of armor weighed between forty and sixty pounds with all the body plates weight put together.
    Last, each noble family not only had its own heraldry, each employed a herald whose job was to make sure that the family’s heraldry was properly used, displayed, and understood. The herald also announced a joust tournaments and taught knights and sons of knights friend or foe by the heraldry of other noble families.
    I thank you for giving this quest and teaching me about the medieval times. God bless our land.
    Your student or serf,

    • My dearest Michael,
      I humbly thank you for this edifying lesson of Medieval times. You have brought light to the dark ages of my knowledge. For this, I thank you. I have heard the word fief, but did know the difference between a fiefdom and a kingdom or a town. I also was unaware of the enormous impact of the plow. While I did know something about chain mail, I did not realize 200,000 rings were required. Good heavens! What a tedious and monumental job for the maker of armor.
      Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us all.
      Your teacher,
      Lady Donofrio

  19. Greetings Lady Donofrio,
    I apologize greatly for such a late response, but I think that this is better late than never.
    The five things I learned from the web quest were;
    1. That our plays would be worthy for a medieval fair in the time of Beowulf.
    2. That Beowulf could have possibly played Nine Men’s Morris.
    3. Most boys began their training to become a knight at the age of seven.
    4. Most people in the medieval era were Catholic.
    5. In the plays at medieval fairs the clergymen and priest would be the actors.

    See you at school,

  20. Dear Lady Donofrio,
    Here are my five interesting facts that I found on the medieval era! In 1100ce, a poem called The Song Of Roland was written. This was a very famous poem consisting of 4,000 lines, and was written right before the crusaders. And also in the 1300’s, Dante wrote the Divine Comedy. I also learned in the medieval era that plays were sometimes performed in cathedrals, or the backdrop of the cathedral was the setting. Plays were used to teach the people about Christianity and also the catholic church. I also found some information on medieval board games. Chess was played by the noble, backgammon was played by the middle class, and dice was played by the serfs. Like nine mans morris, chess has been played for a very long time. I really enjoyed this web quest, and I really learned a lot. sorry that I was a little late.

    • Dearest Britton,
      I did not know that board games were played according to one’s social status. How interesting. Thank you for enlightening me. I am glad you enjoyed the web quest. It is always delightful to find interested tidings.
      With gratitude,
      Lady Donofrio

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