The Renaissance

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

The 11th unit in my World History curriculum covers the Renaissance Era in Europe. Students will learn about the artists, writers, and philosophers of both the Italian and Northern Renaissance periods and engage with creative projects and historical thinking. 

This is a great unit for your middle or high school history students. With a variety of activities for each day in the unit, students will always be engaged and thinking critically.

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


The starts off with a thorough lesson on the Renaissance Era as a whole. An engaging PowerPoint and guided notes set (with "flipped classroom video and Google Slides options also available) takes students through the beginning of the movement on the Italian peninsula before guiding them through its growth across Europe. 

Videos videos are also available to use before students move on to a mapping activity or one of the interactive notebook pages. A complete set of digital notebook pages is available as well for students to complete online.

I also like to provide students with the unit guide packet here near the beginning of the unit. They can then work on it throughout the unit before turning it in on test day.

In the next lesson, students delve into Renaissance art to learn about what made it so revolutionary. Following a warm up and short video, students break up into small groups to analyze works from Michelangelo, da Vinci, Donatello, and others at stations around the room. After taking notes and sketches of what they saw, students begin the Renaissance art show newspaper project.

Students will have the opportunity to share their projects or can also complete the entire activity online with the included Google Docs version. Following this, students move on to supporting resources like either a Leonardo da Vinci Reading and fun da Vinci notebook helicopter activity.

Lastly, students learn about Renaissance era writers and philosophers. There is a great Am I Machiavellian Quiz that can be used as a warm up to see how much students' beliefs align with Machiavelli's teachings in The Prince

There are then several short videos to show to students on Renaissance-era writers, including William Shakespeare and Erasmus. Next, students dive into more one these writers and the Renaissance philosophy of humanism through an interactive notebook page or digital notebook activity. Finally, students finish off learning about Renaissance writers with a short Renaissance Writers Book jacket project.

The unit concludes with a thorough unit guide packet to help students understand all the key concepts. There are also several review games, videos, and activities available before students move on to 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 with 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