Humanities/Modern World History
Curriculum Unit II: Decline of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Worcester Technical HS, MA
C level DUE DATE: ______________________
Question Due Date:____________________
This unit introduces the excitement of Europe during the Renaissance—a time when humanists began to believe that “man is the measure of all things.”
After completing this unit, you will be able to:
Core Question (must be answered in order to pass the C level): How is the Renaissance modern?
Mandatory Assignment #1:
reflection on an exemplary work of art; use the model and the rubric if
you need help 15 points
Mandatory Assignment #2: Read one or more of the following historical documents, fill out the historical documents worksheet, and be prepared to answer questions about the document 10-15 points
Machiavelli The Prince excerpts
Castiglione, The Courtier excerpts
Vasari, Lives of Artists: Leonardo da Vinci
Vasari Lives of Artists, Michel Angelo
Christine de Pizan, The City of Ladies, excerpts
Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man, excerpts
Others in the manila folder!
Mandatory Assignment: #3
Read and answer questions
for Boccaccio’s The Decameron 10
Take notes on class lectures: 5 points per lecture (except art lecture)
Bring Out Your Dead! The Black Plague strikes Europe___________
The glory and splendor of
Renaissance Art (15 point lecture!) ________
in the Art Seminar, in which you choose a favorite and least favorite
work of art. Be prepared to defend your choices in class, or in
conference 10 points
Create a visual
timeline highlighting TEN important moments in Renaissance history.
Choose your beginning and ending dates for the Renaissance, and be
prepared to defend each of your ten choices. Make sure that your
choices correspond to the unit objectives. Present your timeline to the
class.*review visual art criteria to complete this assignment to
Create a map that illustrates the major political boundaries in Europe during the Renaissance. Label each of the Italian city states, as well as all major countries and cities 10 points
Be prepared to answer the following questions about your map:
How did the geography of Italy lend itself to the development of city-states, rather than a single nation?
How did Italy’s geography encourage trade?
Explain the importance of the Papal States to the political
structure of Italy.
Read the sonnets of Petrarch handout, and be ready to answer the following questions: 10 points
Describe some emotions expressed by Petrarch in these poems.
How does he describe the object of his affection?
In what ways are these sonnets neo-Platonic?
the Renaissance word search, and fill in the sentences
Please choose ONE of the
following assignments to complete. You must have 70 points to proceed
Go to the Museum of Science website on Leonardo da Vinci:
Read the information about Leonardo’s gadgets on Museum of Science Website, THEN
PAIR UP: Prepare a list of questions that a newspaper reporter might ask one of the following people mentioned in the chapter:
II *Michelangelo *Machiavelli
*Christine de Pizan Dante’s Beatrice Petrarch’s Laura
*Pico della Mirandola
Be sure to prepare the answers
ahead of time, and make sure the questions are related to the
objectives of the unit. Present the interview to the class. *for
persons with an asterisk, you should quote the person directly
using primary sources; see me with questions, or if you’re having
trouble locating sources
Participate in a
Socratic Seminar on Machiavelli’s The Prince (1st 12
students to request this only). You must have a least 50 C level points
signed off before you reserve your space. Students must read
annotate their Machiavelli excerpt in order to participate.
Choose one of
Petrarch’s sonnets, and translate it into modern words. Recite both
versions to the class, and be ready to explain the neo-Platonic
images in both versions.
Compare and contrast
one of Petrarch’s sonnets with Shakespeare’s sonnet #130: “My mistress’
eyes are nothing like the sun.” How does Shakespeare’s work reject
neo-Platonism? Present your interpretation to the class in a 2-3 minute
are an apprentice in the studio of one of the most famous artists from
the Renaissance (your pick). In at least three detailed letters,
write home to tell your family about life in the studio. In what
city are you working? What duties would you have? What techniques would
you learn? What famous art would you have seen, and what would your
impressions of the art be?
Read the excerpt from
the book The Day Laid on the Altar by Adria Bernardi (see me
for a copy). How does this excerpt’s description differ
from other works we have read about the Renaissance? Choose three
passages to relate to the objectives of the unit, and write a one-page
description of how the passages reflect or reject other information
about the Renaissance that we have studied.
Please choose ONE of
the following assignments or questions to complete. You must fulfill
one B level requirement before moving to the A level.
As a pair or individually,
research the political debate over government funding for the
National Endowment for the Arts. Read arguments for and against
funding, and explain how the role of patronage and art has changed
since the Renaissance. Do governments have a responsibility to fund
art? Why or why not? This may be presented as a class point/
counterpoint debate in a pair, or as a persuasive essay if done
individually. See me for the rubric for each assignment.
As a pair or individually,
take a position on the Renaissance argument over the best way to
portray ideal beauty. Is it best exemplified through literature, or
visual art? In a 3-5 minute presentation, show the class your favorite
examples (no more than 3) of ideal beauty as portrayed in art or
literature, and defend your choices. You should also explain why you
think the other position is incorrect.
Read excerpts from
The Courtier, and present to the class a role play in which one
student plays a Renaissance gentleman who practices the advice of
Castiglione, and the other portrays a modern male responding to that
advice. Your presentation should demonstrate the ways in which manners
and morals have changed, and how those changes reflect the values of
each time period. You must quote The Courtier directly in your
PAIR UP: (1st 2 teams only; must be on the B level to reserve your space)
Explore the theme of
neo-Platonism in American culture today. Do our movies, advertisements,
and other images reflect the neo-Platonic ideal established for women
during the Renaissance? If so, how? If not, what values or aesthetics
have replaced the neo-Platonic ideal? Create a visual display using
pictures and words to portray the popular culture’s depiction of women.
Present your findings to the class.
Humanism is dead. Write
a persuasive essay in which you take a position on this statement,
using modern resources to support your position. See me for the