Heraldry in the Life
of a Knight

A Web quest for 6th Grade Students
by Tonia J.Ward
literature teacher at Lake Geneva Middle School



Heraldry in the Life of a Knight conforms to the Wisconsin State Standards.

 ELA Standard A Grade 8 Reading
ELA Standard B Grade 8 Writing
ELA Standard C Grade 8 Oral Language
ELA Standard E Grade 8 Media/technology
 ELA Standard F Grade 8 Research & Inquiry



    Knights played an important role during the Middle Ages.  They were professional soldiers who traveled far looking to do battle. The life of a knight was noble, but also  very dangerous.  Even in peacetime knights had the opportunity to engage in hand-to-hand combat by competing in tournaments to win favors, power, and money.
    Heraldry was used to identify knights on the field of battle and in tournament competition.  The elaborate  designs on shields, clothing, banners, and flags were passed on from generation to generation with each son adding his own personal design.  Eventually these designs were used to develop a family coat of arms.  Take a journey back in time to Hampshire Court in medieval England to learn more about heraldry in the life of a medieval knight and design your own coat of arms!



 Professor Flybender's Fully Guaranteed Time Machine has transported you back in time to Medieval England!  Like Steve from Max and Me and the Time Machine, you find yourself in the body of a medieval knight who is about to compete in a jousting tournament at the castle of the Earl of Hampshire.  Unfortunately, you do not have a horse like Max to help you.  To stay alive and get back to your own time, you must discover the importance of heraldry in the life of your knight.
   Name the knight whose body you now occupy.  For example, Steve is Sir Robert, The Green Falcon.  Find out what qualities were important in a knight.  Do you possess courage and valor or are you a black hearted varlet like Sir Bevis, the Hampshire Mauler?

Both Sir Robert and Sir Bevis have  a coat of arms that is unique to them.  Sir Robert favors the colors of vert and or and identifies himself with the falcon. Sir Bevis prefers sable and gules. Research & Design your own medieval coat of arms that will identify you at the Hampshire tournament.   Find out what the designs, colors, and symbols in heraldry mean and create your coat of arms to reveal to your friends and foes the real you in knightly style!

Knightly History

Remaining in the body of your medieval knight, creatively write a fictional personal narrative. From the point of view of your knight explain who you are, where you are from, and how you came to compete in the tournament at the Earl of Hampshire's castle.  Be sure to explain how your coat of arms reveals your knightly personality as well.  After completing your project, prepare to present your coat of arms to your fellow knights.



Coat of Arms

Final created on 12 x 18 paper, cardboard, or other approved material. 

Use of color is important

All parts must be included:
        Motto (English please!)

Knightly History

In a double-spaced, word processed, 12 point font paper include the following:

       Title (knightly name?)

              Who are you?
              Why are you at Hampshire 
              Where do you live?

               Explain what all  the colors,
               symbols, and designs on your
               coat of arms say about your
               life, family history, personal
               accomplishments, and special

Remember to stay in character !
  Use 1st person point of view words like: I, me, we, us, etc.



The novel Max and Me and the Time Machine by Gary Greer & Bob Ruddick

Visit these sights for a basic explanation of how and why heraldry was important in medieval times and the basic duties of a medieval knight.

Look here for sample shield designs and coat of arms by last name.  Learn the basics on heraldry. Learn to identify the many parts of a coat of arms and understand their meaning at these internet sites. What Saye Ye?  Don't be confused by all that medieval lingo!  Find out the meaning and the importance of the different elements of heraldry.



All students will be graded individually on his/her participation, written summary, coat of arms and oral presentation.

 Please click here to review the criteria on which your individual grade will be based.
100% = A+
93 - 99 = A
90 - 92 = A-
88 - 89 = B+
83 - 87 = B
80 - 82 = B-
78 - 79 = C+
73 - 77 = C
70 - 72 = C-
68 - 69 = D+
63 - 67 = D
60 - 62 = D-
Below 60% = F



 Not only were coat of arms important, but they were decorative as well. They represented the history of an individual and his or her family with much more detail than a simple last name.  Today, many families, countries, kings, and organizations still use coats of arms.

In an oral presentation, use your coat of arms to reveal to the class the medieval knight you became at Hampshire Court and the qualities that you and your knight share.