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Renaissance & Writing Outline – Grade 8


Language Arts, Social Studies  




Mitchell Lopate – EDU 557.31

Dr. Gallagher

Renaissance Unit Outline – Grade 8






I.                  Purpose:  Throughout a six week time period, students will become familiar with the Renaissance time period through cross-curriculum studies.  Students will be involved in many forms of instruction to both illuminate and clarify the time period and its contributions in terms of art, music, history, science, mathematics, language, world language and sports.


II.  Outcomes:

·        Following class discussions and videos, students will identify and characterize the foundations of the Renaissance.  This will be assessed through the KWL method.

·        Students will be able to describe the Copernican Theory and apply it creatively.  This will be assessed through an editorial activity (oral communication).

·        Students will define the following terms of the Renaissance to be assessed through a short-answer test:  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.

·        Following a class discussion and readings, students will be able to explain concepts about themes in poetry, and define concept, symbolism and rhyme scheme by providing a written or musical example of each.

·        After analyzing a handout example of a timeline and evaluating key features through discussion, students will create a graphic organizer that distinguishes primary facts of the Renaissance on history/politics, literature/theater, arts/music, and science/technology/inventions.

·        Given a set of questions to be answered from a handout and assessed through a rubric, students will choose from a selection of guilds and create an autobiography of themselves living in the Renaissance using appropriate information (resources, society, occupation, inventions) with the use of previous materials.

·        After viewing the film “Romeo & Juliet” and reading the play as arranged for modern reading, students will analyze and retell the story in their own words in short answers in a test and evaluated with a rubric. 

·        After viewing the films “Romeo & Juliet” and “West Side Story,” students will compare and contrast both films through a “Siskel & Ebert/Lyons & Medved” review of no more than five minutes, evaluated with a rubric

·        After class discussion and comparison outline, students will work in cooperative pairs and be evaluated with a peer critique rubric, to research, design, display and describe a poster featuring two corresponding themes between a modern theater and/or film production, a book and/or story, or a book/story and movie/theater production.



A.     Definition of Movement

Overall Definition &

Styles Introduced

Terminology and Vocabulary


B.     Historical Perspective

Length of Time of period

Social Perspective & Events

Political Climate

Religion & society

C.     Literature of the Renaissance






D.     Art

Introduction of new styles




E.      Drama & Theater

Construction of the theater

Construction of a play


Themes & Issues in society

F.      Scientific & Mathematical Discoveries & Inventions of the Renaissance

Bacon & Descartes- Experimentation and scientific research

Gutenberg – Spreading the word(s)

Copernicus – Heliocentrism vs. Geocentrism

Harvey – Blood circulation

Vesalius – Modern Anatomy

 Brahe –  The Position of the Planets

Kepler – The three laws of the solar system

Galileo – The telescope, dynamics & mechanics

Newton – Physical laws of the universe

Gilbert -Magnetism

Da Vinci – Master Inventor

Boyle – Laboratory pioneer

Hooke – The compound microscope

Leeuwenhoek – Microbe hunter

Pascal – Pressure & liquid laws



WEEK ONE:  Introduction to the Renaissance

                        What do students know?  Questions?

                          Review of description of Renaissance as time period

                          Major events in cultural progress

                          The Age of (Re)Discovery

                          Discussion on multi-cultural Renaissance periods


WEEK TWO:   History and contributions

                            The divisions of European countries

                            War & Peace in Europe

                            Monarchy and city-states

                           Thomas Hobbes

                            John Locke

                           Niccolo Machiavelli

                            Martin Luther

                            Writing an illustrated newspaper

                            Mapping a Renaissance timeline


WEEK THREE: Introduction of Literature

                              Discussion of significant terminology

                              Authors and their styles

                              Sir Thomas Moore

                              Desiderius Erasmus

                              Niccolo Machiavelli

                              Francis Bacon

                              Miguel de Cervantes

                              William Shakespeare

                              Creative Writing on Renaissance theme


WEEK FOUR:    The Rise of Art

                               The influence of the Church on Art

                               The Great Cathedrals

                               The Development of Dance

                               The Great Master Painters

                               Leonardo Da Vinci’s Art/Science




                               The birth of Opera


WEEK FIVE:  Discussion of Theater and Rules

                           The Globe Theater

                           Books, Printing & Theater


WEEK SIX:  Exploring the Scientific Revolution

                        Nicolaus Copernicus

                        Ideas about the Solar System

                        Religious influences on science


                        Tycho Brahe

                        Johannes Kepler

                  Isaac Newton

                        Gravity & magnetism

                        William Harvey & blood analyses

                        Andreas Vesalius

                        Beginnings of medical research


                                Classroom hands-on experiments


V.               EVALUATION




1.      Timeline  (5%)

2.      Poster  (5%)

3.      Editorial speaking activity  (10%)

4.   Shakespeare movie review  (10%)




1.      Definitions & terms  (15%)

2.      Autobiography  (20%)

3.      Test on “Romeo & Juliet”  (15%)


CLASS ASSIGNMENTS (outlines, essays) (10%)



VI.            Absent students/missed work

·        Students who miss class when an assignment is due must have a written excuse or doctor’s note and must hand in the work the day upon returning to class.  E-mail submission for emergencies are available.

·        Students who are absent the day of a quiz may make it up after school or during their lunch period the following day.

·        Students who do not discuss a possible delay on a completed project will have points deducted from their final grade.




1.      Student text

2.      Teacher text

3.      Encyclopedia of the Renaissance

4.      Additional handouts

5.      Encarta 98

6.      Transparencies

7.      Markers

8.      Posterboard

9.      Highlighters

10.  Literature books

11.  Overhead

12.  Scissors

13.  Construction paper

14.  Computers

15.  Index cards

16.  Three-ring binder (optional)

17.  Journals

18.  Library and reference books

19.  A&E Biography series videos

20.  “Romeo & Juliet” – MGM Films

21.  “West Side Story” – MGM Films

22.  “Copernicus” – The Rise of Science Series

VIII.     Bibliography


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.


Armstrong, Spencer.  (1960).  101 of the World’s Greatest Books.  New York: 

Greystone Press.


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


Browning, D.C.  (1993).  The Complete Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations.  New York:  Barnes & Noble Books.


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


Cady, Frank W. & Cartmell, Van H.  (1946).  Shakespeare Arranged for Modern Reading.  New York:  Doubleday and Company.


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.


Fadiman, Clifton.  (1960).  The Lifetime Reading Plan.  Cleveland, Ohio:  The World Publishing Company.


Fonte, Moderata & Cox, Virginia (Editor).  (1997).  The Worth of Women : Wherein Is Clearly Revealed Their Nobility and Their Superiority to Men (Other Voice in Early Modern Europe).  Chicago, IL:  University of Chicago Press.


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


Hall, Alice G.  Benjamin Franklin.  National Geographic, Vol. 148, No. 1 (July 1975).

Washington, D.C.:  National Geographic Society.


Hamilton, Edith.  (1942).  Mythology – Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes.  New York:  The New American Library.


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.


Smith, Pamela H.  (1994). The Business of Alchemy : Science and Culture in the

Holy Roman Empire.  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press.


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.


Velikovsky, Immanuel.  (1950).  Worlds in Collision.  New York:  Pocket Books (division of Simon and Shuster.)


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


Benjamin Franklin: Citizen of the World.  A&E Biography Series

Copernicus and His World.  The Rise of Science Series, BBC-TV/Open University

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

From the Earth to the Moon.  HBO Films, 1997.

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

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

Lucrezia Borgia – Pretty Poison.  A&E Biography series.

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

Romeo & Juliet.  MGM, 1968.

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

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

William Shakespear – Life of Drama.  A&E Biography series.

West Side Story.  MGM, 1961.



Mitchell Lopate

EDU 557.31 – Dr. Gallagher

Web for Renaissance Unit Outline



Language Art                                        Mathematics                                          Science


Petrarch & the sonnet                              Brunellleschi & Linear Perspective           Galileo’s Inclined Plane Experiments

Boccaccio’s “Ten Days Entertainment”     Alberti’s treatise on perspective                Copernicus’s Sun-Centered Theory

Study of Greek & Latin authors                da Vinci’s sketches                                   Galileo uses the telescope

Printing/distribution of Gutenberg Bible     Tartaglia solves cubic equations              Vesalius & Modern Anatomy

Erasmus’ “The Praise of Folly”                Cardan’s work with algebra                     Gilbert &  terrestrial magnetism

Descartes’ “Discourse on Method”           Pascal’s Law of hydraulic fluids                Brahe’s data on planetary positions

De Montaigne’s “Essays”                                                                                         Kepler’s laws of planetary motion

Marlowe’s “Faustus”; blank verse                                                                            Newton’s Laws of Gravitation

Shakespeare’s plays & sonnets                           Art/Design                         Harvey & experimental medicine

Milton fights censorship in England                                                                           Boyle:  The first Modern Chemist

Rabelais’ “Gargantua and Pantagruel”      Amadeo’s Cathedral of Milan spire         Hooke:  the compound microscope

La Fontaine:  fables                                   Fra Angelico’s Adorations                      Bacon & planned experimentation

Corneille, Moliere, Racine:   dramas          Brunelleschi’s Cathedral of Florence      Leeuwenhoek’s bacteria studies

Cervantes & “Don Quixote”                       Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”

Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”                    Cellini’s goldsmithing                              Physical Education/Health

Bacon’s “Of Studies”                                  Raphael’s “Madonna & Child”

Jonson & classic standards                        Titian & the Venetians                            Vesalius refutes Galen

Donne & metaphysical poetry                    da Vinci masterpieces                            Sanitation (lack of)

Michelangelo’s sculptures                        Rats & disease = Black Plague

Social Studies/History                           The Glory of the Sistine Chapel

The Lippi’s:  Father and son                     

Columbus and new lands                          Donatello & modern sculpture                        World Languages

The Spanish cross the Atlantic                                                                                 Latin & Greek = knowledge

The Portuguese explorations                                   Music                                      French for love and royal affairs

The Dutch West Indies Company

The power of the Medici’s                        Madama Anna Inglese, the minstrel

Luther & the Reformation                         Isabella d’Este (patroness)

Machiavelli’s political manifesto                 Ockeghem-polyphonic master

The Borgia’s control Italy                         Jane Pickering’s Lutebook

Calvin & predestination                            “Greensleeves”

Bodin & the science of politics                   Binchois & Dufay – a new style of songwriting

Grotius & the Law of Nations                    Gibbons & the madrigal

Hobbes & “Leviathan”                             Byrd, the great composer

The Spanish/English Wars                       Anne Boleyn’s writings

Henry VIII & the Church of England        The liveliness of Renaissance dance

Elizabeth the Queen

Sir Francis Drake explores the globe


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