Elizabethan Monarchy


5th Grade


By Melissa Bowen


Time: 2 Days or 2 Sessions (One session should be about 2-3 hours in order to give time to maintain a monarchical society. The second session should be 1-1 1/2 hours)



1. The students will understand the difference between democracy and monarchy.
2. The students will understand how the Queen Elizabeth and her Privy Council ran England.
3. The students will understand the different terms involved in the Elizabethan government.



At the beginning of the day I will address the students and explain how we are going to establish a monarchy in our class. Define the words King/Queen, Privy Council and commoners. (Before class, discuss with your supervising teacher students who he/she feels would benefit from the experience of being King/Queen or part of his/her Privy Council). The rest of the class will become the commoners and will have to do whatever the king/queen and the Privy Council says (there will be limits and rules to follow).


King/Queen: The hereditary right to govern a country, supreme ruler over a country.
Privy Council: Committee of royal officers with primary responsibility for advising the King/Queen and carrying out his/her policies.
Commoners: People who are of middle to lower class without a title.



1. Ask the "commoners" how they felt about having to do everything the government told them to do. Ask the question, Why do you think some of the class members had a hard time listening to the monarchy?

2. Ask the government how they felt being the ruling class.

3. Define the words democracy and monarchy and discuss the differences between the two governmental systems.

Democracy: A government run by the people.
Monarchy: Supreme power to rule a country held by one person.

4. Explain the hierarchical system during the Elizabethan time period.

  • God
  • King/Queen
  • Nobility/Clergy
  • Gentry
  • Commoners (Adults)
  • Commoners (Children/Teenagers)

5. Discuss and explain how kings and queens become kings and queens.

6. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a monarchy. Discuss and compare why the Puritans came to America.

7. Through discussion, define key terms that are involved in the Elizabethan monarchy.

  • Parliament: Governing body of England made up of King/Queen, Privy Council, House of Lords and House of Commons.
  • House of Lords: The upper house consisting of nobles. This house had 65 members.
  • House of Commons: The Lower House, consisting of 2 representatives from every county, city or town. (similar to our House of Representatives)
  • Feudal System: A relationship between different ranks of society, in which the rich and powerful gave land to others in return for work and military service.
  • Landowners: People who inherited the right to occupy and use land. A person could pay for land with military service. In actuality everything belonged to the monarchy.
  • Magistrate: One who is given power to enforce law and order; a justice of the peace.
  • Justice of the Peace: Local, unpaid official who is responsible for maintaining law and order.
  • Taxation: Money paid to the government for the running of the country.
  • Nobility: The upper class of society who has inherited their wealth and status.
  • Treason: Saying or doing anything that goes against the King or Queen.
  • Gentry: People who are well born and have a profession, but not of nobility.
  • 8. Survey the question, Who would like to live in a democratic nation and who would like to live in a monarchic nation?



Key terms and definitions
Identification Badges (Privy Council) Rules for the Monarchy
Trivia Questions


Assessment Procedures:

1. I will observe the students as they establish and maintain their monarchy.
2. I will observe and listen for explanations as to the advantages and disadvantages of a monarchy.
3. The students will participate in a "trivia game". The class will be divided in half, calling on each member of the class to participate. I will use the terms and definitions discussed in class.



**The following are examples of the duties of the king and his Privy council as well as an example of the rules the students need to follow.


Duties of the King

  • Supreme ruler over all of England (the classroom)
  • Conferring with your Privy Council on matters of the kingdom
  • Delegating responsibilities to different Privy Council members
  • Getting everyone lined up
  • Making sure everyone is doing their work
  • Attendance and lunch count
  • Handing out snacks (remember you may keep a little more for yourself because you are part of the monarchy)
  • Dismissing everyone for recess (you may dismiss yourself earlier than you dismiss everyone else)
  • You may help with classroom management by taking a letter from RECESS off the board

(These are only a few of your duties as King, Dorothy and myself will direct and advice you to do other things during this time period)


Duties of the Privy Council

  • Enforcing the rules and regulations that the King of England, supreme ruler over England, tells you to
  • Getting everyone lined up
  • Making sure everyone is doing their work
  • Attendance and lunch count
  • Helping to hand out snacks (remember you may keep a little more for yourself because you are part of the monarchy)
  • Dismissing everyone for recess (you may dismiss yourselves earlier than you dismiss everyone else)
  • You may help with classroom management by taking a letter off the board

1. Thou has to do thine own work.
2. Thou has to respect thine property.
3. Thou has to respect others.
4. Thou has to respect thyself.

(These rules were based on their classroom rules.)


Unit Summary
My unit on the Renaissance/Elizabethan era consists of many different activities and lesson plan ideas. My opening lesson plan was a time line that discussed the many different events that occurred during this significant time period. My next lesson was on Queen Elizabeth I, and the significant role she played during this time period. The next lesson talks about what a Coat of Arms is and how it existed during Queen Elizabeth's reign. We discussed the various symbols involved in the Coat of Arms and their significance. We had the students make their own Coat of Arms using emblems that represented who they are. Another lesson that we did was on castles and the way in which castles defend the countries. With this lesson the students were able to work in-groups to create castles using sugar cubes.
The next lesson we taught was a science lesson. We discussed many of the different kinds of entertainment that the Elizabethan people participated in. We discussed the way kites fly and the physics involved. The students were able to create their own kites. The next two lessons we taught involved math skills. The first lesson we discussed the money that Elizabethan people used and how each monetary unit is related to the other. The next math lesson we discussed the different measurements, based on the metric system used during the Elizabethan era, and how these measurements convert to the U.S. customary system. This lesson also involved different foods that people enjoyed during the Elizabethan time period. Finally our last lesson involves discussion and participation in various Elizabethan entertainment activities that we entitle, "Renaissance Faire".


The Life and Times of Elizabeth by Massimo Rossaro
Daily Life in Elizabethan England by Jeffrey L. Singman
Castle by David Macauley
How It Was: Tudor Monarchs by Jessica Saraga
Exploring the Past: Shakespeare's England by Marshall Cavendish
How It Was: Elizabethan Life by Stewart Ross
The Tower of London by Leonard Everett Fisher
Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema
Thematic Unit: Renaissance by Linda J. Larsen (This is a lesson plan idea book by Teacher Created Materials, Inc.)




If you have any questions please contact me, Melissa Bowen.