Social Problems of Peasants during Medieval Times

Ms. Kinney- 9th Grade Humanities

Marble Hill School for International Studies




During the Middle Ages, under the system of feudalism, peasants faced many social problems. The feudal system was a system which organized society based on the allocation of land for services. The King gave fiefs of land to lords who promised to provide soldiers to the King in times of war. At the bottom of this social hierarchy were the peasants. They were farmers who provided food for everyone else. They, their land, and their possessions truly belonged to a Lord to which they were bound. Life on a lordís manor was hard. Peasants worked their lordís land in exchange for protection and their own piece of land to grow food for their families. Sickness and disease were common.


You have been transported back in time to the early middle ages. To address some of their problems the peasants have organized a group to research and recommend changes in policy that will contribute to better lifestyles for peasants.As a strong leader of the peasant community you have been selected to represent the peasants.



Individually, you will research social problems which medieval peasants faced. You may use the Internet and library resources. You will then use the 6-step public policy approach to examine and propose policy aimed at ONE social problem of peasants. You are responsible for writing a 400- word position paper that advocates for a policy that could improve the welfare of peasants during medieval times. After your research and paper are complete, you will create a power point presentation to present your proposed policy to a board of lords.


Using Our Multiple Intelligences

In addition, you will choose one of the following tasks to complete:

1) Create a campaign poster for a delegate who would advocate for peasants.

2) Create a political cartoon that describes, shows evidence and causes of a social problem medieval peasants faced.

3) Write a dialogue/ script that depicts the social problems peasants faced. Act it out or use the classroom puppets.

4) Write a 2-minute monologue that talks about life from a peasantís perspective.

5) Write a poem or song lyrics with a theme that reflects your findings about peasant lifestyle.




Public Policy Approach


You will need to use the 6-step public policy approach and complete the worksheets for each step in blue, on your own.You should do the following in your paper:


q       Describe and identify the social problems of medieval peasants. Choose one or two to focus on.

q       Gather the evidence of the problem by using class textbooks, notes and the Internet resources below.

q       Determine causes of the problem by using class textbooks, notes and the Internet resources below.

q       Evaluate the policy. Look at one policy that contributed to the social problem you have focused on.

q       Develop solutions. Propose an alternative policy.

q       Select best policy. Using your analysis, develop a position paper to advocate for the one you think is best.




a) Include a cover page with your name, a title for the paper, your class, teacherís name and date submitted and an image related to your paper.


b)  Your 400-word paper should include an introduction. Your paper should describe:

        a social problem that you have researched

        the policies which were in place regarding your social problem,

        your proposed policy and itís benefits.


c) Include a bibliography with at least 3 on-line sources where you obtained your research information.



a)  You are responsible for creating 6 slides.

b)  Your first slide should be a title slide and include your name, class, teacher, and date.

c)  At least one slide should describe the problem.

d)  At least one slide should describe policies in place to address the social problem.

e)  At least one slide should describe your proposed best solution and benefits.

f)  You should include at least 3 graphics in your presentation.





1- Use the Internet to do research using the Global History Policy analysis model of the TIPS program. Use the sources listed below in order to gather information for your three-page paper.


2- Complete the 6-step public policy analysis work sheets (see the above links under TASK) and plan your paper.


3- Organize your notes from the resources into a logical and coherent format and write an outline and then a first draft of your position paper.


4- Submit your paper for edits and rewrite your paper.


5- Submit your report.


6- Use your report to plan your power point slides on the worksheet provided.


7- Create your power point slides, find graphics to support your presentation and edit your work.


8- Present.






Websites about the life of serfs and peasants:


General web pages about the middle ages:




Your report will be graded using the following rubric:








3-page report

In-depth and insightful analysis of the topic and use of the PPA format

- Clear and full development of ideas

-Shows sophisticated control of conventions

Thorough analysis of topic and use of PPA format

- Clear development of ideas

- Control of conventions with occasional errors in sophisticated language

Basic understanding of topic and use of PPA format

- Develops some ideas briefly

-Shows minimal control of conventions that sometimes affect comprehension

Confused understanding of topic and little or no use of PPA format.Incomplete development of ideas and lack of control of conventions numerous errors that often affect comprehension


Web Site Research

A variety of sites (3 or more) used from resource list and student researching that fully support the topic

Sufficient number of sites that support the topic.Most are directly from resource list

Adequate number of sites but few support the topic

1-2 sites used and do not sufficiently relate to topic


Multiple Intelligences

-Illustrates strong evidence and causes of a social problem that is clear, creative and in depth.

-Demonstrates high level of professional appearance

-Illustrates supportive evidence and causes of a social problem that is clear, creative.

Demonstrates aspects of professional appearance

-Illustrates some evidence and causes of a social problem that is clear,

-Little demonstration of professional appearance

-Little or no or unclear evidence and causes of a social problem

-Unprofessional presentation


Power Point Presentation

- Clear and full presentation of material (6 slides)

- Shows sophisticated control of elements of power point program

- Demonstrates full control of language conventions

- Clear presentation of material (6 slides)

- Shows control of elements of power point program

- Demonstrates control of language conventions with very few mistakes

- Basic presentation of material (less than 4,5 slides)

- Basic control of elements of power point program

- Some errors in language conventions get in way of presentation

- Insufficient and/or unclear presentation of material

- Little control of power point program

- Significant errors in language conventions which get in way of presentation issue11.htm



Students completing this project will meet the following New York State Standards:


Social Studies Standard 2

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

Key Idea 1: The study of world history requires an understanding of world cultures and civilizations, including an analysis of important ideas, social and cultural values, beliefs, and traditions. This study also examines the human condition and the connections and interactions of people across time and space and the ways different people view the same event or issue from a variety of perspectives.

Key Idea 3: Study of the major social, political, cultural, and religious developments in world history involve learning about the important roles and contributions of individuals and groups.


English Language Arts Standard 1

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.

Key Idea: Listening & Reading to acquire information and understanding involves collecting data, facts, and ideas; discovering relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and using knowledge from oral, written, and electronic sources.