Teaching Students About The 1200 Era: The High Middle Ages



The 1200 era, also known as the High Middle Ages, was a period of great advancements in technology, religion, and art across Europe and Asia. It is an important era for students to learn about because it helps shed light on how societies have evolved over time. This article provides guidance for educators seeking to effectively teach students about the 1200 era, its notable events, and its impact on world history.


Engaging Students with Context


Begin your lessons on the 1200 era by providing a brief historical background and explaining the overall context of this period. Discuss critical global events that occurred during this time, such as the Crusades in the Middle East and the flourishing trade networks connecting Europe and Asia.


Notable Events and Figures


With context established, dive into some of the most significant events and prominent figures of the era:


  1. The Launch of the Fourth Crusade: The Fourth Crusade was intended to conquer Jerusalem through an invasion of Egypt, but ended up sacking Constantinople instead. This had long-lasting consequences for the unity of Christendom.


  1. The Battle of Bouvines: In 1214, King Philip II of France defeated an English-led coalition in the Battle of Bouvines. This had a significant impact on European power dynamics over subsequent centuries.


  1. Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire: Teach students about Genghis Khan’s rise to power and how he conquered much of Asia, creating one of the largest empires in history.


  1. Thomas Aquinas: The influential philosopher contributed to Christian theology by integrating Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrines.


Cultural Advancements


The 1200 era saw tremendous technological advancements across various fields:


  1. Gothic Architecture: Teach students about this iconic architectural style, epitomized by soaring cathedrals like Notre-Dame and Chartres.


  1. Medieval Universities: Universities were established in cities like Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge, paving the way for higher education developments during the Renaissance.


  1. Artistic Innovations: Discuss how artists of the period explored new styles and techniques, such as stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts.


Teaching Methods


To effectively teach students about the 1200 era, consider these techniques:


  1. Interactive Lessons: Engage students with discussions, debates, or presentations on key topics related to the era.


  1. Visual Aids: Use images or maps to visually illustrate the changes in geography, architecture, and art throughout this period.


  1. Primary Sources: Provide excerpts from primary sources such as texts written by Thomas Aquinas, Marco Polo’s travels, or Genghis Khan’s campaigns.


  1. Timelines: Use timelines to help students visualize the chronology of critical events during this time.




The 1200 era was a time of significant advancement and change that shaped world history in numerous ways. By exploring notable events and figures while also engaging students with interactive teaching methods and visual aids, educators can help students develop a deeper understanding of this influential era.

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