The Reformation

A Complete Unit Plan for World History in Middle School or High School

The 12th unit in my World History curriculum covers the Protestant Reformation. Everything from the Reformation's beginning with Martin Luther, through its spread across Europe and branching into various denominations, and finally the Catholic Counter Reformation are all covered here.

There’s a variety of interactive activities and lesson plans for each day in the unit so that students are always engaged and thinking critically while learning about the content. 

You can download the entire unit here with lessons and resources for every day or you can join Students of History and access everything online through a subscription.


The Reformation unit begins with an easily differentiated lesson on Martin Luther and the 95 Theses. There are two options to start the lesson off with. The first is a PowerPoint and interactive pop-up notes page. This one breaks the main ideas down simply for students and has them listing Luther's main problems with the Catholic Church literally "inside" the church graphic organizer then taking notes around it. 

A more detailed and thorough PowerPoint and guided notes set (with "flipped classroom" video and Google Slides versions also included) is available also if you prefer a more straightforward lesson and to provide students with more details about the Reformation movement including John Calvin, John Knox, and others.

There are fantastic supplementary activities available here as well, including a mapping activity on the Reformation's growth, reading and worksheet on Martin Luther, or any of the fantastic digital notebook activities. The unit guide packet can also be given out at the start of the unit, with students working on it throughout before it's collected on test day.

A "Create Your Own 95 These" activity makes for a great warm up for this next class. After a video clip to provide greater context, students analyze resistance and protest movements during the Reformation with an amazing simulation activity. This activity can be done in groups at stations or online with the Google Doc version and takes students through the major events of the era and has them reflect on how they would respond.

In the next lesson, students learn about Henry VIII's role in the Reformation and the creation of the Church of England.

After going through a visually-stunning PowerPoint (plus guided notes/video/Google Slides), students analyze an amazing primary source from Anne Boleyn. There is also a reading activity on the wives of Henry VIII and both digital and paper interactive notebook pages to use here as well. 

Next, students learn more about the denominations that grew out of the Reformation. There's a great video clip to use as a warm up before students engage in a jigsaw activity to learn about Anabaptism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anglicanism. Lastly, students compare the beliefs of Protestants and Catholics with this interactive activity.

The last major topic of the unit is a lesson on the Catholic Counter Reformation. After reading about the Council of Trent, students work together in a simulation on the Council to figure out if they would reform the church (and if so, what reforms they would make).  Again, there are digital and traditional interactive notebook pages you an use here as well. 

To finish off the unit, there is a fantastic Reformation Theme park Project, which serves as a fantastic hands-on way to tie together all the information learned throughout the unit

There are also several review games, videos, and activities (including the unit guide packet) to help students understand all the key concepts. Lastly, there is an editable unit test, with a Google Forms version also available for easy grading.

You can download the whole unit here and have all these amazing resources saved right to your desktop. You can also join sign up for a World History subscription to access everything online. Subscriptions grant you immediate access to the ENTIRE World History curriculum. That’s 24 complete units full of engaging resources and lessons. 

If you’re unsure which option is better for you, you can read more about the differences between TpT purchases and subscriptions here

Thanks so much for checking it out!

World History Units