Education Technology

NCSS: The Black Plague

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students analyze the cause of the spread of the Black Plague and its historical impact on medieval European society. Students read an excerpt from Giovanni Boccaccio's DeCameron to gain an idea of how life was during the rampage of the Plague.

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Install the NoteFolio(tm) App on the students' graphing calculators following the attached instructions.

Develop a coding system for student assignments. The code might be the student number and name of the activity, or the first initial and four letters of the student's last name, in addition to the activity. This coding will allow ease of grading throughout the lesson.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Distribute the NoteFolio(tm) file(s) to your class using TI Connect(tm) and the appropriate TI Connectivity cable
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will:
  • Integrate the NoteFolio(tm) Application into meaningful social studies instruction.
  • Explain how feudalism shaped medieval society.
  • Discuss new literary styles written in the vernacular, or everyday language.
  • Analyze primary source documents; John of Cayworth's feudal contract, "The General Prologue" of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and an excerpt from Boccaccio's DeCameron, to identify aspects of medieval life.
  • Examine the relevance of a historical crisis in light of a contemporary problem.
  • Examine how the disasters of the Late Middle Ages help set the stage for the modern age.
  • Combine primary and secondary sources to critically examine and draw conclusions about a historical event.
  • After the Activity

    1. Ask students to fold a sheet of paper in half. On the left hand side, students should write the following: "Ring around the rosies, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down." On the right-hand side, students should analyze this nursery rhyme in light of the Black Plague.
    2. Invite a local reporter into the classroom to discuss the process of writing a story and help students realize the needs of the media to report the news.
    3. Ask students to incorporate into their magazine articles three examples from the medieval period to explain how the Middle Ages led to the birth of the Renaissance.