Getting Started on the Crusades with Blood Red Horse

posted Jan 8, 2019, 4:33 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 8, 2019, 4:33 AM ]
We are into a new unit in the PULS. This unit, featuring K. M. Grant's excellent novel Blood Red Horse will center around the historical event known as the Third Crusade. Our unit will explore a little of the history of this time but delve more deeply into the bigger issues of religion and religious conflict, historical perspective, and using empathy to understand historical events. The Crusades are complicated. While our history books often paint them as religious wars, they were more like religious pilgrimages. John Green explains this difference very well in his excellent Crash Course World History video on the subject (right).  The Crusades are often overly romanticized and rarely discussed accurately and in context of their times. I hope that in this unit we can accomplish this to a limited extent.

To begin this unit we will be doing activities that will help students establish the background and context they need to better understand our novel and the Crusades themselves. The first will be a map assignment where students follow instructions and complete a map of the Crusades on their own. They will then be required to interpret the information from the maps and answer questions about them. You can view the assignment here and the maps here.

Students will also research and then compare and contrast Christianity and Islam. These religions represent half of the world's religious beliefs. They feature prominently in world history and in the world our students live in today. While Taiwan has only a few Christians and Muslims, it's closest allies are mostly Christian, and one of its largest immigrant populations (Indonesians) are predominantly Muslim. I hope with this activity the kids can develop a basic understanding of these two religion to serve them as we cover this unit and beyond. You can view the assignment here.