Clothing Teachers' Guide
Medieval shoe (Cluny museum, Paris)
Kids are easily interested in clothes,
and so the main idea is to use the clothes to encourage discussions
about less accessible topics. You might look at the differences between
poor people's clothes and rich peoples' clothes through the pictures
on the site (not just in the clothing
section, look also in people
and in art sections).
You might also look at where the different kinds of cloth come from, and the different climates of those places.
You could also discuss different ideas of modesty in different cultures. Why is it sometimes okay to show your ankles, and sometimes not? In some cultures, it was fine to go completely naked. In other cultures, people are ashamed to show even their faces or hands (for instance, my grandmother didn't leave the house without gloves). Where do we stand on this line today? Are we more modest than most people? less?
Or you might do some spinning and weaving in class, so the students can see how hard it is to produce even a very small piece of cloth. If you can get some raw wool, it is a great experience to wash it, card it, spin it, dye it, and weave it all yourself.
Of course the kids will love to dress up as ancient
Greeks or in medieval costumes.
This might be part of putting on a Greek
play, or acting out an Indian
epic, or something like that. Or maybe have a party where the
food and the activities go with the costumes (Roman,
Chinese, or whatever).