Catherine, Called Birdy
Conclusion and Reflection
Teacher Notes



 Step into the world of knights and castles, lords and ladies, Robin Hood and King Arthur! What was it really like to live in the Middle Ages? As you read Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman, you will be transported back in time to the Middle Ages. You will become familiar with Medieval life as you work through this WebQuest.



Each of you will be assigned a group that will study some aspect of the Middle Ages. Your group's task is to research and present your topic. Each group will be responsible for keeping a Research Journal in addition to the Reading Journal you usually keep. You will be attending a Medieval Feast at the end of the project and you will be presenting what you have learned to the rest of the class at the feast. Two weeks before the end of the WebQuest we will use the resources to find out about costumes. You will need to choose a character from the book and come to the festival dressed as your character. You will not be admitted to the feast unless you are dressed in a costume that you have researched as part of this project. There will be four groups who will research the following:
Foods and Feasts
Herbs and Medicines



Foods and Feasts
Herbs and Medicines
Extra Credit

The Dwellings group will be researching manor houses, castles, and other dwellings. You will be learning about what dwellings were like inside and out. Use websites and books as resourses to find your information. You must answer these questions in your research journal.
Describe a manor house. Who lived and worked there?
How was a castle different from a manor house? Who lived and worked in a castle?
Create a Venn diagram comparing a castle and a manor house.
Describe another type of Medieval dwelling, (peasant, serf, etc.) How were the living conditions different from those living in a castle or manor? Same?
How did the people of the Middle Ages attempt to control temperature in their dwellings?

When you have finished your research, your group will need to
prepare a presentation. You may choose to create a Hyperstudio
stack on dwellings or make a model of a dwelling labeling the sections.
Don't forget to have your presentation approved!


Catherine's father (the Beast) has commisioned the Heraldry
group to make a family coat of arms. Your group will use the
resources to discover how to make a shield, crest and how to
apply the other elements of the coat of arms. You will record
your findings in your research journal and answer the following questions:
What is heraldry?
What is the difference between a coat of arms and a crest?
How do you blazon a coat of arms?
What do arms mean?
What geometric portion does each part of your sheild inhabit?

When you are finished with your research, each of you will then construct a coat of arms using materials you will find in the Art room. Try to include as many elements of the device as you can. When you finish, have your coat of arms laminated. Your group will present your coats of arms for approval at the feast.

It is the challenge of the Foods and Festivals group to find
out about foods that may have been consumed by Catherine
and her family and to research some of the festivals mentioned
in the book. You have an important part in the festival because
you will be providing some authentic foods for our feast. Use the
resources to find out about foods and festivals and don't forget to
record your findings in your research journal. Answer the
following quesitons.

What foods were consumed at breakfast?lunch?dinner?
How do these foods differ from those we consider to be included in a healthy, balanced diet?
Which spices were popular with Medieval people and
Name five popular festivals or feasts. What was
usually being celebrated?
What kinds of activities did Medieval people
participate in at a festival? feast?
Compare Catherine's celebration of Christmas to the
way it is celebrated today. What has happened to the

Your project will be twofold:


Catherine and her family were very concerned with herbs used
medicines. Sickness and death were things that everyone
dealt with and the knowledge of healing was particularly
Visit our
resources to find out about some of the diseases that
were common to people living in the Middle Ages. Answer the
following questions in your research journal.

Name five diseases and their cures that were common to people in the Middle Ages.
What ingredients were used in some of the remedies?
What were some unusual treatments for ailments these
people suffered?
Are there any cures, medicines, remedies that are still
in use today?

Your group will prepare two things for the festival:

1)You will need to mix up two herbal cures for common
ailments, such as stomach ache, tooth ache, gout, or
other. Be ready to tell what ingredients are contained in
the recipe and show how it is to be applied or taken. Prepare a display table for the festival on which you will show your herbal cures and talk about them and others in character.

2)You will prepare a short skit to be performed during
the festival where someone in the group will fall ill and
someone else will suggest a cure and the cure will be


 Extra Credit:
You can earn extra credit if you do some extra research:

Catherine tells her story in the form of a diary. For each day, a saint is
honored. Choose five saints from Catherine's diary and visit the saints
resource page. See if you can answer any of these questions about the saints.

Who is the saint, where was he/she born and when?
What did this person do that made her/him a saint?
When did the saint die and how?

After you have finished your research, use the INSPIRATION software to make a web for each saint. Include the webs in your Reading Journal for extra credit.