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Lesson One - Turning Points | Lesson Two - Voicing Your Opinions

Lesson One - Turning Points

Suitable for: Middle/High School


  • Students will understand how people are affected by places and events.
  • Students will communicate their opinions in an essay including historical facts.
  • III - People, Places and Environment: describe ways that historical events have been influenced by physical and human geographic factors.
  • V - Individuals, Groups and Institutions: describe the various forms institutions take and their interactions with people.
  • VI - Power, Authority and Governance: explain and apply concepts such as power, justice and influence to examine persistent issues and social problems.
Time frame: 2-3 class periods

  1. During a unit on The Renaissance and Reformation, hypothesize how the Roman Catholic Church controlled daily life in medieval Europe.

  2. As a class, view "Martin Luther: Driven to Defiance" (Run time 4:50-6:21) and discuss the following questions:
    • How did the Roman Catholic Church control daily life in medieval Europe?
    • How did this control effect the population?

  3. Introduce Martin Luther's college experiences in Erford, his pilgrimage to Rome and teaching in Wittenberg based on what they will see in the film. Explain how each of these locations greatly influenced actions in his life. As a class, watch "Martin Luther: Driven to Defiance" fill in the Viewing Chart (PDF 8kb)

    Teacher Video Notes
    • View film 8:44-49:55
    • Erford (student) 8:44-16:44
    • Monk 16:44-25:25
    • Rome 25:25-34:16
    • Wittenberg 37:09-49:55

    Tips for filling in the Viewing Chart
    • Environment: Student should describe the landscape they see in the film clips
    • Activities: What activities were popular in that location as described in the film?
    • Social Issues: What were the issues important in each community at the time Luther was a resident?
    • Effect on Luther: After seeing and hearing about each location, students explain how that location affected Luther's ideas and attitudes.

    Download Viewing Chart (PDF 8kb)

  4. After the film clip, discuss, as a class or in pairs, which location students felt had the greatest effect on Martin Luther. Why?

  5. Based on the film, the chart and class discussion, have students write an essay stating their opinion on the most influential location in Luther's life.

  • Completion of Martin Luther Viewing Chart
  • Participation in class discussion of film
  • Essay based on rubric
    • States opinion clearly and completely
      Demonstrates strong knowledge of location and its affect on Luther's life
      Clearly presents and explains no fewer than three examples of how the location affected Luther's life
      Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
    • States opinion clearly Demonstrates knowledge of location and its affect on Luther's life
      Clearly presents and explains 3 examples of how the location affected Luther's life
      Few mistakes in reference to spelling, grammar and punctuation
    • States opinion
      Demonstrates knowledge of location and/or its affect on Luther's life
      Presents and explains 3 examples of location the effect on Luther's life
      Mistakes in reference to spelling, grammar and punctuation
    • States opinion
      Demonstrates knowledge of location and/or Luther's life
      Presents and explains up to three examples
      Errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation interfere with understanding

In order to reinforce the idea that location influences a person's actions, students will interview an adult. They will ask similar questions to those used in the Viewing Chart.
Download Interview Form (PDF 12kb)

Tip: "Decade of Choice" is an opportunity for the interviewee to choose a decade they would like to discuss - the 1950's because they fought in Korea or the 1960s because they had their children.

Have students share interview experiences. Are there similarities among those people the students interviewed?

Can generalizations be made about turning points in various decades? If so, what are they? If not, hypothesize on the reasons behind the lack of similarities.

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