This username and password
combination was not found.

Please try again.

STU Online Education Programs
Hotchalk Global

view a plan

Lesson Plan 1


Language Arts, Social Studies  




Mitch Lopate

EDU 557.31-Dr. Gallagher

Lesson Plan 1 – Grade 8

Topic:  An Introduction to the Renaissance

Subjects:  History, Vocabulary, Math, Science, Language Arts, Art,

Type of Lesson:  Introductory



1.      To determine what the students know and want to learn about the Renaissance.

2.      To enhance student’s understanding of the Renaissance, and areas of key focus to research and write about.

3.      To enhance student’s writing skills and use of vocabulary.

4.      To promote cooperative research learning skills.


Lesson Objectives:

1.      Through the construction of a KWL chart, videos and class discussions, students will discuss what they know and want to learn about the Renaissance. (Cognitive: Knowledge)

2.      On a separate piece of paper provided by the teacher, students will define with 100% accuracy the following terms of the Renaissance:  Renaissance, humanist, humanities, Aristotelian (Aristotle), Inquisition, indulgences, heliocentric, geocentric, elliptical, alchemy, metaphysical poetry, classical allusion, metaphysical conceit, satire, neo-Classicism, perspective, utopia, city-state, nationalism, inductive method, scientific method. (Cognitive:  Comprehension)

3.      Upon concluding discussion and research on Renaissance terms, students will discuss in groups of four and diagram with a graphic organizer with 100% accuracy, how Renaissance ideas spread northward from Italy and throughout Europe.  (Cognitive: Comprehension/Application/Analysis).

4.      Students will explain in at least three paragraphs what and why they think were the greatest developments of the Renaissance period, and offer at least three reasons to support their decision (Cognitive:  Evaluation).







Overheads of art work and buildings

VCR & television set

Elizabeth I:  The Virgin Queen.  A&E Biography series

Henry VIII:  Scandals of a King.  A&E Biography series.

Leonardo da Vinci:  Renaissance Master.  A&E Biography series.

Michelangelo – Artist & Man.  A&E Biography series.

Sir Isaac Newton:  The Gravity of Genius.  A&E Biography series.

Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting:  The Renaissance.  BBC WorldWide Americas.

William Shakespeare – The Life of Drama.  A&E Biography series.


The teacher will provide the following handout:


In previous class readings, discussions and projects, the Middle Ages was reviewed as a time of struggle and subjugation of individual freedoms, including intellectual pursuits, religious beliefs, human rights and ownership through servitude, and warfare over properties, territories and the dogma of the Vatican.  The Renaissance has been viewed as a reawakening of theology, education, social philosophies, inventions that made global changes and historical legacies, scientific discoveries and validation or repudiation of theories, expeditionary zeal, colonization at the price of decimation to other cultures,  and tremendous creative expression in the fields of music, sculpture, painting and building.  It was indeed marked by a flourishing cultural identity, but it was the unashamed pursuit of valuable possessions, including great religious and secular art, and material and commercial spirit of the 15th and 16th centuries that set the tone.  A single-syllable word transformed monarchies and fueled expeditionary rivalry and decades of land and sea confrontations:  “Gold.”  Commerce and international trade provided the enormous fortunes that funded artistic production, and luxury goods, including great works of art, became important as means of displaying newly acquired wealth and status.  It was an urge to own, a ceaseless quest for new horizons and exotic treasures, to publicly succeed, that fueled the cultural output of the Renaissance, and that taste for conspicuous displays of opulence characterizes the Western experience of the arts and culture to this day.


The typical “Renaissance man” was motivated by conspicuous consumption as much as by humanist principles. The leading members of Renaissance society sought to live in ornate palaces filled with fine paintings, sculpture, marble and rare stone, porcelain, Venetian glass, silk from China, broadcloth from London, rich velvet, and fine tapestries and carvings–hardly the spiritual symbols of a deeply religious era. Yet Renaissance religious art reflected a true spirituality: Most Renaissance artists believed that only the very best was good enough to honor their sacred subjects.


The Renaissance uniquely combined the sacred with the profane:  Literature and art that blithely mixed a celebration of valuable commodities with sacred themes.  During the Renaissance, city-states like Venice and Genoa grew fat channeling the riches and spices of the Orient into Europe.  Trading, capital investment, banking, and credit all accelerated the creation of a new wealthy class.  Ostentation reflected the authority of powerful princes of the states and the Church, and the achievements of great merchants.  Some innovations improved the lot of the common man and inspired more humble consumption.  In particular, the invention of the printing press made formerly handwritten rare copies of Greek and Roman classics available to learned commoners.

The rapidly growing market for printed books – a new commodity seized upon with equal enthusiasm by investors and consumers – disseminated the “new learning” via publishing houses and printing presses across Europe, stimulating the evolution of the European intellectual tradition as much by accident as by design. 


Therefore, the question is open for discussion, research, and rebuttal:  should the Renaissance be viewed as a time period of discovery, creativity and reawakening of mankind (and womankind’s) higher mental facilities, or should it be characterized as an age of greed, opportunity, scandal and pretentiousness?


Lesson Development:

In a direct instruction/class discussion, the teacher put the KWL method on the board.  The teacher will ask the students to discuss what they Know about the Renaissance and What they want to learn.  With the previous usage of the KWL method, students are aware of its meaning and should be able to assess it.  The teacher and class will review the videos and discuss:


a.       Origins of the Italian Renaissance

b.      Renaissance writers, artists and inventors

c.       The Humanities

d.      The Northern Renaissance

e.       Printing and educational opportunities that were created

f.        English Literature


2.   Students will take organized notes and have the KWL part of their KWL method written in their notebooks.

3.   Students will define in short sentences, important terms of the Renaissance in their notebooks from the handout.



1.      Class will list on the chart what they did Learn as they find out new information of the Renaissance.

2.      Class will be instructed to list important examples on the handout about famous people of the Renaissance that they will learn about through class discussions, videos, readings and research.  The list will include:  Petrarch, Erasmus, Hobbes, Locke, Luther, Machiavelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Sir Thomas More, Gutenberg, Copernicus, Harvey, Vesalius, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Gilbert, Boyle, Hooke, Leeuwenhoek, Pascal, Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Bacon,

de Cervantes and William Shakespeare.



1.      Why did the Renaissance take place?

2.      What important points did we learn about the artists of the Renaissance?

3.      Define humanism and its effects on society during that time.



1.      Did all students answer or raise questions during the KWL session with 100% participation?

2.      Are students taking accurate and complete notes that define the topics and contributions of the Renaissance figures indicated on the handout? 

3.      Were students able to discuss and research developments of this time period in cooperative groups and answer the assignment on the graphic organizer?


Lesson Follow-up:

1.      Ask students to identify and discuss economic and political changes that the Renaissance movement may have inspired in other countries in the upcoming centuries that followed.

2.      Ask students to plan a time-travel episode on paper that allows them to meet at least two Renaissance figures of their choice, or witness two events.  What were their choices?  Can they elaborate on what was their criteria for their decisions?  What languages would they need relative fluency in to undertake this? 

3.      It’s a compliment today to be called a “Renaissance Man” or “Renaissance

Woman.”  The phrase was used in eulogy for the revered, late commissioner of baseball, Bart Giamatti, who served as the former president of Yale University.  What kind of reference might this mean, especially in light of the political, economic and scientific turmoil throughout the Renaissance?


Adaptations for students with special needs:


1.      Large print dittos will be available for the visually impaired.

2.      Hearing impaired students will have an aide available, interpreter or pre-recorded reading on tape of the handouts (to be done by the teacher or aide).

3.      An ADHD student will work at the front of the room for special assistance with the teacher and will have a student mentor working alongside to facilitate cooperative learning.


NJ Core Standards:


1.5-All students will identify the various historical, social, and cultural influences and traditions which have shaped general artistic accomplishments throughout the ages and which continues to shape contemporary arts.

3.2-All students will listen actively in a variety of situations to information from a variety of resources.

3.4-All students will read various materials and texts with comprehension and critical analysis.

3.5-All students will view, understand, and use non-textual visual information.

4.3-All students will connect mathematics to other learning by understanding the interrelationships of mathematical ideas and the roles that mathematics and mathematical modeling play in other disciplines and in life.

5.3-All students will develop an understanding of how people of various cultures have contributed to the advancement of science and technology, and how major discoveries and events have advanced science and technology.

6.2-All students will learn democratic citizenship through the humanities, by studying literature, art, history and philosophy, and related fields.

6.4-All students will acquire historical understanding of societal ideas and forces throughout the history of New Jersey, the United States, and the world.

6.5-All students will acquire the historical understanding of varying cultures throughout the history of New Jersey, the United States, and the world.

6.9-All students will acquire geographical understanding by studying the environment and society. 




Aston, Margaret.  (1996).  The Panorama of the Renaissance.  New York:  Harry N. Abrams.


Anderson, Margaret Jean.  (1996).  Isaac Newton:  The Greatest Scientist of All Time:  Great Minds of Science.  Springfield, New Jersey:  Enslow Publishing.


Atchity, Kenneth J. (Editor) & McKenna, Rosemary (Editor).  (1996)).  The Renaissance Reader.  New York:  Harpercollins.


Black, C.F., Greengrass, Mark, & Howarth, David.  (1993).  Cultural Atlas of the Renaissance.  New York: Macmillan General Reference


Boorstin, Daniel J.  (1983).  The Discoverers:  A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself.  New York:  Random House.


Downs, Robert B.  (1961).  Famous Books Since 1492.  New York:  Barnes & Noble


Cornwell, Anne Christake & Damianakos, Alexander N.  (1993). The Renaissance/Audio Cassette (Western Civilization). University Press & Sound


Durant, Will.  (1953).  The Story of Civilization (Series V) – The Renaissance.

New York:  Simon and Shuster.


Durant, Ariel & Will.  (1968).  The Lessons of History.  New York:  Simon and Shuster.


Emerson, Kathy Lynn.  (1996).  The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Renaissance England.  New York:  Writer’s Digest Books.


Grun, Bernard.  (1975).  The Timetables of History.  New York:  Touchstone.


Jardine, Lisa.  (1996).  Worldly Goods:  A New History of the Renaissance.  New York:

Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub (Traditional).


Jeffery, David.   A Renaissance for Michelangelo.   National Geographic, Vol. 176, No. 6 (December 1989).  Washington, D.C.:  National Geographic Society.


May, Nadia (Narrator) & Pater, Walter.  (1995).  The Renaissance.  New York:

Blackstone Audio Books.


Stephens, John.  (1990).  The Italian Renaissance : The Origins of Intellectual and

Artistic Change Before the Reformation.  London, England: Longman Group United Kingdom.


Thompson, Bard.  (1996). Humanists and Reformers : A History of the Renaissance

and Reformation.  New York: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Company.


Weber, Eugen.  (1995).  The Western Tradition:  From the Ancient World to Louis XIV.  Lexington, MA:  D. C. Heath and Company


Elizabeth I:  The Virgin Queen.  A&E Biography series

Henry VIII:  Scandals of a King.  A&E Biography series.

Leonardo da Vinci:  Renaissance Master.  A&E Biography series.

Michelangelo – Artist & Man.  A&E Biography series.

Sir Isaac Newton:  The Gravity of Genius.  A&E Biography series.

Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting.  The Renaissance.  BBC WorldWide Americas.

William Shakespeare – The Life of Drama.  A&E Biography series

Print Friendly