Seventh-grade social studies classes at Oceanside Middle School held their annual Medieval Day May 26 at Watts Hall in Thomaston.

The purpose of the medieval unit is to give students an understanding of the social structure that existed in the middle ages, namely, the concept of feudalism.

People of all classes lived very differently then, and this unit offers students an alternate perspective. They will be able to add this knowledge to their larger concepts of being part of a society and the differences between citizenship then and now.

Students practiced and demonstrated the social implications of being a member of a feudal system by researching a community character, including designing their own coat of arms. They were either part of the clergy (church), nobility (royalty), or a commoner (peasant).

Students researched all about their person’s daily life and their role in society. The end result of their research was to bring their person to life by dressing up as their person on Medieval Day.

They also studied the differences between medieval and modern times, researched medieval Europe and how the culture and society was shaped by disease, warfare and class structure.In addition, students learned about how European kingdoms developed in the early Middle Ages, and the importance of a nation's close relationship with the Pope.

Students learned about the Roman Catholic Church's reach throughout society, as well as its construction of grand Gothic-style cathedrals, the Crusades and how they affected medieval Europe, as well as the social and economic consequences of the growth of towns. They also learned about the Black Death, bubonic plague, which decimated European populations during the 14th century.

For their final project, the students will be design and describe parts of either a Medieval castle, cathedral, or manor.

This article was contributed by Rachel Campbell-Burns, seventh-grade social studies teacher at Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston.