Bringing Chivalry Today to Schools, Libraries, Camps and Churches
Chivalry Today provides a variety of presentations for schools, youth groups and libraries tailored to fit the unique needs, interests and learning levels of their students or members. While the descriptions below represent some of our more popular offerings, we are always willing to coordinate with teachers, homeschool parents, camp facilitators, librarians and church activity directors to create a unique offering to meet your teaching goals.
The Chivalry Today Educational Program is able to offer these engaging, live presentations due to the generous donations of parents, website visitors and contributors like you who value quality educational resources.
If you would like to support Chivalry Today’s ongoing effort to bring a greater understanding of the history and ideals of chivalry to today’s youth, please donate to support our outreach program. We thank you for your generosity!
Chivalry Today Is Ready for the 2012 School Year and Beyond!
- NEW: Medieval Day Festival Of Chivalry (7-12th grade)»
- Days & Knights Of Shakespeare (7-12th grade)»
- Register To Be Part of the next session of our Warrior Camp or After School Club
Chivalry Today’s “Classics” Are Still Available Too
- King Arthur & The Code of the Round Table (K-6th grade)»
- Vigil: The Making of a Knight (7-12th grade)»
- A Knight In The Museum (9-12th grade)»
- Deed Of Arms: Knights In Action (7-12th grade)»
- The Joust Royalé (5-12th grade)»
- Engineering By Knight - The Catapult: Medieval War Machine! (Scouts and crafts activities)»
- Castle Life: Home For The Knight (7th to 12th grade)»
- Warrior Camp/Warrior After-School Club
- Customized Presentation (any grade)»
Also take a look at these Class Projects we have prepared for teacher use.
Medieval Day Festival Of Chivalry (Formerly called “Medieval Day Out”)
- Age/Grade Range: 12-18 years (7-12th grade, or any class studying medieval and Renaissance history)
- Length: Variable, from 60 minutes to a half day
- Educational Standards and Learning Objectives: To experience a broad range of the culture and society of medieval times, exploring many facets of daily life for peasants, merchants, women and the aristocratic classes. This presentation brings history off of the pages of a book and gives students a real-world perspective of life in the Middle Ages!
Taking students to a historical site to learn from costumed re-enactors and interpreters (like you’d see at one of the California Missions, the Cabrillo National Monument, or at San Diego’s Historic Old Town) is a great way to give them an “immersive” sense of history – but how can you incorporate the same sort of learning experience when studying the European Middle Ages or the Renaissance if your school is in sunny Southern California? Now, with Chivalry Today’s Medieval Day Festival Of Chivalry, your students can step back into medieval history and get a taste of life in the Middle Ages just like taking a trip to a historical interpretation center in England … without even leaving campus!
In this interpretative historical study activity, you get to choose which of the educational stations Chivalry Today will bring to your school – you can choose any, or all of the following topic-specific learning stations, according to the space, funding, and resources you have available. Choose from this “menu” of interpretative historical learning stations:
- Skills of knightly combat: Where two armored knights demonstrate the skills of medieval fencing (sword-fighting) using authentic techniques from the 14th century (shown above, right, and at the top of this page);
- Falconry In Ye Boke Of St. Albans: A breathtaking chance to learn about the customs and rituals of hunting with birds of prey in the medieval world, and meet a real live raptor in person (shown in the photo at right);
- Medieval Artillery – The Catapult: With three full-sized medieval siege engines (or “catapults”), students will get a dramatic demonstration of the power of knightly engineering as they see a projectile launched 100 yards or more (shown in the photo, at the bottom, left);
- Medieval Song & Music: Students listen to authentic medieval music played by a trio of musicians using historical instruments like the vielle, krummhorn or rackett;
- Troubadours & Tales Of The Round Table: Discover about the storytelling traditions of the Middle Ages, and hear an exciting tale of the chivalrous adventures of the Knights of Camelot. (One of our storytellers is shown at right);
- Clothing and fashion of medieval Europe: See a “fashion show” of medieval garments, representing a variety of social classes, time periods and functions;
- Arms, Armor and Chivalry: See how the technology, function and fashion of a knight’s armor changed from the 11th to the 15th centuries in battle and jousting tournaments (shown above, at left);
- Working For A Living — Medieval Style: How did people make a living in the Middle Ages? While knights were practicing their battle skills, craftsmen and women were busy practicing trades like woodworking, blacksmithing, and leather crafts; clerics (men and women) pursued skills of art and science. Get a look at the tools of the Trade Guilds, and the skills of writing and accounting as they were authentically practiced in medieval society.
- Knights On Horseback: A hard-hitting demonstration of real, competitive jousting on horseback (not a scripted stunt-riding show);
- The Roman Legions: Reconnect with the Roman army and learn about the decline of the great Empire that laid the way for the coming of the Middle Ages.
The Medieval Day Festival Of Chivalry is intended to be flexible and adaptable to fit your needs and your budget. The learning stations can be set up inside a classroom, or the stations can be staged in shady areas outdoors on the campus to accommodate a larger number of students. The Medieval Day Festival Of Chivalry can be arranged to allow students to rotate through multiple stations in “shifts,” with as much time at each station as the school schedule allows.
Don’t have a campus of your own? We can even arrange to have our activity stations set up in one of San Diego’s regional parks. Let us know if you’d like Chivalry Today to make the arrangements necessary for a half-day or full-day private field trip for your group.
Contact Chivalry Today for details about having a Medieval Day Festival Of Chivalry at your school.Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
Days & Knights Of Shakespeare
- Age/Grade Range: 12-18 years (7-12th grade, or any class reading Shakespeare’s plays)
- Length: Variable, from 60 minutes to a half-day workshop series
- Educational Standards and Learning Objectives: This lesson will help students analyze philosophical assumptions and beliefs behind Shakespeare’s stories and characters (Ca. BoE English standard 11/12.2.1); use textual evidence to support views and comments on life (BoE English std. 11/12.3.2); explore acting choices, script analysis and character research through the use of historical detail (BoE Performing Arts std. 9-12.2.1); and understand how Shakespearean culture and contemporary realism can drive the production and performance of these works (BoE Performing Arts std. 9-12.2.3).
“Shakespeare’s whole face was tanned by the sun of chivalry.”
So says historian William Henry Schofield – a reminder of just how strong an influence the ideals of chivalry, and the image of knighthood, plays in the works of Shakespeare. From the exciting duels of Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet, to the battle scenes of Henry V and Macbeth, Shakespeare’s plays are full of swords and armor, kings and knights, and ideals of honor and glory. Understanding the world of knights and chivalry can give students new insight into the plays of Shakespeare — and reading or performing Shakespeare can give students deeper understanding of the values of honor and chivalry in their own lives!
In this presentation, crafted in conjunction with San Diego’s Intrepid Shakespeare Company, students will experience the “knightly” side of Shakespeare as they:
- Handle arms and armor to discover Shakespeare’s history plays from rarely performed King John to the patriotic Henry V;
- Try the authentic skills of sword combat to see how this informs the drama in Romeo & Juliet, and the conflict in Macbeth;
- See how the ideals of chivalry are depicted by Shakespeare in three very different characters: the noble King Henry, the comic Sir John Falstaff, and the inflammatory Hotspur;
- Discover Shakespeare’s Language in a theatrical workshop with one of the teaching artists of San Diego’s acclaimed Intrepid Shakespeare Company.
This presentation brings the action and drama of Shakespeare’s plays to life in a richly engaging and authentic way, helping students understand the relevance these works had in Shakespeare’s time, as well as in the modern world.
At your request, this presentation can be combined with a live 50-minute performance of Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, or Hamlet staged by the acclaimed actors of the Intrepid Shakespeare Company in your school theater or multi-purpose room.
Contact Chivalry Today for details about Days & Knights Of Shakespeare, and the performance of Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth or Hamlet.Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
King Arthur & The Code of the Round Table
- Age/Grade Range: 5-11 years (K-6th grade)
- Length: 40 minutes
- Educational Standards: Reading/storytime lessons and character education
Kids love watching the stories they read spring to life, which is why King Arthur & The Code of The Round Table is Chivalry Today’s most popular live presentation. In this presentation, program director Scott Farrell (shown at right speaking at a summer camp in San Diego as part of their “knights’ quest” event) takes on the character of King Arthur to spark children’s interest in discovering the tales of Camelot, and to help them understand what it means to live by a code of honor.
The talk is filled with delightful props and engaging stories about the Knights of the Round Table. With King Arthur to guide them, children see that chivalry isn’t “dead,” and it isn’t lost in the days of Camelot — it lives on in the leaders, mentors and role models they see in the world around them.
This presentation covers the following character issues:
- Justice - Understanding the importance of lawfulness and fairness;
- Honesty - A knight must be truthful and trustworthy;
- Generosity - Making sacrifices for the benefit of others;
- Courage - Having the strength to stand for what’s right;
- Gender Issues – Could a girl sit at the Round Table? (Actually, yes! There were women Knights of the Round Table!)
King Arthur & The Code of the Round Table is adapted from Scott’s popular portrayal of King Arthur in the American Rose Theatre’s 2006 production of the musical Camelot (pictured left, with Scott Farrell as Arthur and award-winning actress Amanda Kramer as Guenevere). This presentation — which includes the whimsical story of young Arthur and the Sword in the Stone — has been seen and enjoyed by thousands of students and children (and parents too!) in schools, libraries and churches throughout California.
This presentation is perfect for library storytime gatherings, reading groups focusing on the tales of King Arthur, Scouting organizations or any youth-oriented gathering with a “knights in shining armor” theme.
Please contact Chivalry Today today about pricing and availability of King Arthur & The Code of the Round Table.
Vigil: The Making of a Knight
- Age/Grade Range: 13-18 years (7-12th grade)
- Length: 60-90 minutes
- Educational Standards: This presentation explores the relationship between knights, royalty and the church (Calif. BoE content standard 7.6.4), the rise and development of the feudal system (Calif. BoE standard 7.6.3), the role of the knight in the development of Parliament and individual rights (Calif. BoE standard 7.6.5 and 7.11.6), the history of the Crusades (Calif. BoE standard 7.6.6), the interaction between Christian and Muslim cultures in Spain (Calif. BoE standard 7.6.9), and the influence of Arthurian tales and the romances of chivalry in the discovery and exploration of the New World (Calif. BoE standard 7.10.1).
Where did armored warriors called knights come from? Was there more to knighthood than just swords, armor and violence? Did chivalry ever really exist? And most importantly, how does the Code of Chivalry continue to influence social conventions — from politics to dating etiquette — in the modern world of today?
Students often struggle to understand the brutal yet colorful period that is called the Age of Chivalry. Calling upon historical chronicles and literary sources, program director Scott Farrell (pictured at right, with a group of knight-candidates eager to practice the skills of chivalry) brings the social, political, military and literary aspects of the medieval world to life as he explores the history of knights and the place of chivalry in Western European feudal culture.
Additionally, the presentation also examines issues of ethics, morality and character development as students consider how the principles of the Code of Chivalry have shaped social and legal policies including military doctrine, professional ethics, law enforcement and the justice system in the 21st century.
Topics discussed in this presentation include:
- The Ceremony of Knighthood — What are the origins and customs of this medieval ritual?;
- Symbols of Knighthood — How did the equipment used by the knight, from his sword to his spurs, reflect the values he was expected to live by?;
- Ladies and Chivalry — The changing social influence chivalry gave medieval women, and the reality of the uncommon (but very real) female knights in shining armor;
- Chivalry and Reality — The gap between the ideals and the practice of chivalry in the Middle Ages;
- Chivalry Today — How this centuries old ethic of honor still influences today’s culture and our modern perception of heroes and role models.
This presentation is a great tie-in with a campus Renaissance faire as it helps students understand the social role of the knight and the lady, and how they interacted with peasants, merchants and the clergy. It is also a perfect way to prepare students for a field trip to a museum or live jousting show, or to turn a “movie day” featuring a film with a medieval setting into a teaching opportunity.
Please contact Chivalry Today today about pricing and availability of Vigil: The Making Of A Knight.
A Knight In The Museum
- Age/Grade Range: 14-18 years (high school)
- Length: 60 minutes
- Educational Standards and Learning Objectives: Understanding how the arms and armor of the knight played a role in the medieval feudal system (Calif. Board of Education Teaching Standard 7.6.3); how the craft of the armor-maker both affected and reflected new scientific advances (7.8.5); how the conflict of the Crusades facilitated trade and improved arms and armor technology (7.6.6) and other objectives contained within the 7th grade Medieval and Early Modern Times Content Standards.
You’d love to take your students on a field trip to an arms and armor museum display as part of your Medieval and Renaissance studies unit. Unfortunately, hardly any school has the budget to fly a whole classroom to the Royal Armouries (pictured at right), the Wallace Collection or the Higgins Armoury Museum … but with Chivalry Today’s new presentation A Knight At The Museum, you can bring the museum display into your classroom. In this presentation, students will get to examine arms and armor from the 11th through the 16th centuries in just the same way they would following a curator through a museum display. They’ll learn the construction, function, development, and cultural significance of medieval arms and armor – with the added benefit of getting to explore the pieces “hands on” (instead of just peering through glass cases!).
In this presentation, students will:
- See and handle exemplary pieces of European armor representative of items from the 11th through the 16th centuries;
- Understand the weapons and tactics used by knights on the battlefield, in duels and in training exercises;
- Get an overview of the culture surrounding knights and the use of arms and armor, including fashion, metallurgy, heraldry, literature and art as they see authentic images and photographs of historical artifacts from museums and collections around the world.
Throughout the presentation, students will also learn the values and ideals of the code of chivalry which were symbolized by the knight’s arms and armor – and relate those ideals to contemporary professions and concepts, such as military policy, business ethics and law enforcement practices. They will see that the examples set by the chivalrous knights of the Middle Ages still live on in the 21st century – chivalry isn’t something to be locked away behind glass!
Deed of Arms: Knights In Action
- Age/Grade Range: 13-18 years (7-12th grade)
- Length: 90 minutes
- Learning Objectives: Dispelling romantic myths and “Hollywood” images of armored knights in battle and duels; giving students an objective view of the social values founded and demonstrated in the jousting tournaments and duels of medieval society; and introducing students to the literary sources that document the skills and customs of knighthood. This presentation will address many of the Calif. BoE curriculum standards for the study of the political, economic, religious and social structures of medieval Europe, 7.6.1-9.
The ultimate exercise in historical interpretation — bringing lessons in medieval history to life!
This presentation allows students to witness a demonstration of a knightly “deed of arms” — a show of martial skill in which warriors proved their skill and valor before an audience of their peers (like the one taking place at a Southern California middle school campus, shown at right) in an attempt to prove they were worthy of the title knight.
The Deed Of Arms is not a scripted “knight sword-fighting performance,” but rather a contest of skill with replica (safety) weapons — a real demonstration of Western martial arts. As such, students will be expected to participate in the event … not as combatants, but as judges. The presentation begins with a lesson in the history of tournaments, duels and “deeds of arms” as students prepare to judge the skills they’ll see demonstrated in combat (from the perspective of nobles, clergy and peasants alike). At the conclusion, they’ll use their knowledge to determine the winner of the day based on skill, courage and chivalry.
Since the Deed Of Arms is colorful and full of exciting action, it makes a perfect centerpiece to an on-campus Renaissance faire, or any sort of activity in which students are expected to “dress the part” and learn through involvement. We will gladly coordinate with you to make sure the Deed Of Arms fits in with your lesson plans and campus activities.
Please contact Chivalry Today today about pricing and availability of Deed of Arms: Knights In ActionPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
The Joust Royalé
- Age/Grade Range: 10-18 years (5-12th grade)
- Length: 60 to 90 minutes
- Educational Standards and Learning Objectives: This presentation illustrates and reinforces lessons regarding the role of knights within the European medieval feudal system and the culture and literature of the Renaissance, and can easily be tied in with a variety of lessons in English literature, humanities and social studies in middle school and high school curriculum, including Calif. BoE standards regarding study of the political, economic, religious and social structures of medieval Europe 7.6.1-9.
Far better than any trip to a Renaissance Faire, the Joust Royalé brings live jousting action and knights in authentic armor to your school campus for a fraction of a price of a field trip!
The Joust Royalé is an interpretive educational experience that your students won’t forget. Thundering hooves, gleaming armor, flashing swords and the amazing sight of lances shattering on impact bring the events of medieval history to life right in front of your students’ eyes. This is a demonstration of real knightly skills at their finest: horseback riding, weaponry skills, and the iconic sport of jousting. This sort of display is rarely found outside of some of the finest museums and interpretive centers in Europe – but with the help of Chivalry Today,the Joust Royalé is as close as your athletic field or campus lawn.
Most importantly, the Joust Royalé also provides an important opportunity for character education. Our armored knights engage in this contest of deadly skill in the true spirit of honor, dignity and Olympic sportsmanship. There’ll be no name calling, no shouts of “boo!,” and no staged displays of violence, aggression or threatening behavior. Instead, students will have a chance to witness and appreciate supreme knightly skill at arms, conducted by the ideals of the code of chivalry.
This presentation includes the following demonstrations and interpretative activities:
- Mounted Games - including tilting at rings and mounted swordsmanship;
- Foot Combat - Demonstrations of skill with knightly weapons such as pollaxe and long sword;
- Jousting - One-on-one mounted competition of skill with lances that is scored in real-time;
- The Code of Chivalry - an arena-side discussion of the values of chivalry, honor and dignity on display.
Catapult: The Medieval War Machine!
- Age/Grade Range: 8-15 years (3-10th grade)
- Length: 60 minutes
- Educational Standards: The decline of Roman society (Calif. BoE content standard 7.1.1); geographic features that influenced European politics and archetecture (Calif. BoE 7.6.1); and the social, military and political significance of castles as part of the European feudal system (Calif. BoE 7.6.3).
Medieval war engines, such as the catapults, were fearsome weapons, but they were also marvels of engineering and building skills. Learn how medieval engineers, with nothing more than a small box full of metal parts, could fabricate a machine that would hurl a 500 lb. stone more than the length of a football field!
This fun, engaging presentation is full of hands-on activities as kids get to take an active part in discovering medieval war machines like the catapult and trebuchet, and the mechanical principles involved in their construction. Attendees will have the opportunity to operate an authentically built, scale-model siege engine (like the students at right, shown eagerly waiting to fire a variety of medieval artillery pieces) and see an impressive video of a full-sized reproduction of a trebuchet in action.
Learning objectives include:
- Construction and Engineering: What mechanical principles make a war engine function?
- Battle Tactics: How a catapult was used as part of a medieval army;
- War and Peace: Understanding how the rules of chivalry and honor were put into practice, even in the brutal world of siege warfare.
This presentation includes a Powerpoint media display of replica war engines. Some form of audio-visual equipment will be necessary in order to bring Catapult: The Medieval War Machine! to your class, library or camp — a high-tech computer display or big-screen digital projector will work, but so will a good old-fashioned TV cart. Please contact us for technical details.
To further enhance the educational potential of Catapult: The Medieval War Machine!, this presentation can include a hands-on opportunity for each student to construct their own tabletop catapult out of craft sticks. Additional cost (for time and materials) may be necessary depending on the number of attendees; please ask about this optional portion of our presentation when you contact us.
Please contact Chivalry Today today about pricing and availability of Catapult: The Medieval War Machine!.
Castle Life: Home For The Knight
- Age/Grade Range: 7th to 12th Grade
- Length: 60 minutes to 2 hours
- Educational Standards: Students will learn about the history, design and function of castles as part of the feudal system, including the influence of the Roman Empire (Calif. BoE Content Standard 7.1.1), influences of Islamic culture and architecture (Ca. BoE 7.2.5 and 6), and the castle’s role in feudal politics, economy, legal and religious life (Ca. BoE 7.6.1-8)
The great stone fortress known as the castle is an icon of the knight, the feudal system and the Middle Ages. But castles were not drab, chilly tombs, and they were not built strictly as military fortresses. In the Middle Ages, a castle was a center of political influence, regional trade, spiritual worship and intellectual learning.
In Castle Life: Home For The Knight, students will learn the roles of some of the key individuals who lived in a great medieval castle, such as the one at Chepstow (pictured above): the knight and his lady, as well as the chaplain (the knight’s personal priest and clerk), the reeve (a peasant who was the chief legal representative) and the engineer (who oversaw the construction and defenses in times of battle).
In this presentation, students will learn about:
- Counting Boards: A medieval calculator used to keep the castle accounts;
- Medieval Justice: The methods of medieval investigation, including trial by jury and trial by ordeal;
- Catapults and War Engines: The artillery of the Middle Ages!
This presentation includes a multimedia display of some of the finest castles in England with a focus on the history, function and archetecture of the buildings. Some form of audio-visual equipment will be necessary in order to bring Castle Life: Home For The Knight to your classroom — a high-tech computer display or big-screen digital projector will work, but so will a good old-fashioned TV cart. Please contact us for technical details.
To further enhance the educational potential of Castle Life: Home For The Knight, this presentation can include a variety of optional hands-on learning opportunities, such as: a calligraphy lesson, heraldry design, or building a tabletop catapult. Additional cost (for time and materials) may be necessary depending on the number of attendees; please ask about this optional portion of our presentation when you contact us.
Please contact Chivalry Today today about pricing and availability of Castle Life: Home For The Knight .Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
Customized Education Presentation
Chivalry Today is always willing to coordinate with teachers, homeschool parents, camp facilitators, librarians and church activity directors to create a unique offering to meet your teaching goals. Simply e-mail Chivalry Today for information about crafting a presentation to meet your educational needs.Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5