Mary, Queen of Scots: Heroine or Harlot?
Set during the Age of Reformation, Mary Queen of Scots reveals the influence of international politics, culture and religion on the Queen’s life. In addition, the program offers a vivid portrait of Mary Stuart’s personal character traits helping to illuminate a life that was embroiled in controversy, mystery, scandal, and extremes. Five hundred years after her death, Mary Stuart remains one of history’s most enigmatic figures.
National Standards: Mary Queen of Scots: Heroine or Harlot fulfills the following National Standards for History for grades 5-12: chronological thinking, historical comprehension, historical analysis and interpretations, and historical research capabilities for World History era 6.
Middle School and High School Interdisciplinary Curriculum Connections: Art, Character Development, European History, Geography, Leadership, Literature, Mathematics, Music, Public Discourse, and Writing.
Broad Goal: Students will be able to explain how international politics, religion, and cultural
beliefs influenced the life of Mary Queen of Scots.
1. To analyze international politics, culture, and religion during the Age of Reformation
2. To formulate opinions
3. To compare and contrast information
4. To develop and enhance reading, writing, and speaking skills
5. To develop critical thinking skills
6. To identify character traits that embody good leadership
7. To utilize map and mathematical skills
What is the period of history in which Mary Stuart lived? Which countries did she rule during this time period?
Why was Mary sent to live in France? How did her French heritage influence her character? How has your heritage influenced your character?
Explain why Mary Stuart returned to Scotland and how of the Scots reacted to her.
Discuss the religious conflict that existed during this period. Complete a pro and con chart about Mary Stuarts decision to practice Catholicism while living in Scotland. What would you have done if you were her? Why?
How was Mary Stuart related to Queen Elizabeth? What are some of the key issues underlying their relationship?
List the character traits that eventually led to Marys demise. Compare Marys character traits to that of a contemporary leader. Write a comparative essay.
Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth both demonstrated religious tolerance. Which queen do you think displayed more religious tolerance? Defend your position.
During the Age of Reformation, people often married for reasons beyond or in addition to love. Explain the role and politics of marriage during this period of history. How does this compare to the role of marriage today?
Who were Marys husbands, and how did they influence her life? Use a Venn diagram to compare two of her husbands similarities and differences.
Even though Mary was not able to raise her son King James VI, discuss the irony in his reinterring her body at Westminster.
Why is Mary Queen of Scots considered to be an enigma?
At the end of her life Mary acted very queenly. Do you think she was a good leader? Why or Why not? Design a code of ethics that includes character traits for good leadership.
Authentic Assessment Activity: Student will design a newspaper and write a speech that will serve as an alternative assessment to determine the students understanding of the key people and issues that influenced Mary Queen of Scots life during the Age of Reformation. Students may design individual newspapers or work in cooperative groups to develop it. Newspaper may include the following:
Cover Story- summarizing key events in Mary Stuarts life- include answers to who, what, where, why, and when Headline that relates to the article;
Several Whos Who articles showcasing the VIPs in Marys reign;
Editorial- on an important issue pertinent to Marys life during the Reformation; Headline for the editorial;
Advice Column- pretend that a person who had influence during Mary Stuarts reign wrote a letter to the paper for advice about a major problem he/she must solve. This could be a personal issue or one relating to government, politics, etc. Write a response from the columnist that suggests how to solve the problem; Cartoon- design a political cartoon or short comic strip that illustrates the humorous side of an event during Marys reign;
Advertisement- create an ad for either a product that would have existed during this period in history or a want ad for a job in Marys court;
Editorial Speech- use the newspaper editorial to prepare a speech of a major issue of the time to present to the class.
Develop a cause/effect flow chart of the key events that influenced Marys life.
Design a greeting card with symbols that portray unity among the countries that were under Marys reign.
Have a team of students debate whether or not Mary should be executed.
Compose a theme song that captures the essence of the political, cultural and religious themes during the Age of Reformation.
Use a map at the time of the Reformation to calculate the distance that Mary moved from the time that she was born to the time of her death.
- Dundrennan, May 15, 1568
To the high and mighty Prince, Elizabeth-
You are not ignorant, my dearest sister, of great part of my misfortunes, but these which
induce me to write at present, have happened too recently yet to have reached your ears. I must therefore acquaint you as briefly as I can, that some of my subjects whom I most
confided in, and had raised to the highest pitch of honour, have taken up arms against me,
and treated me with the utmost indignity. By unexpected means, the Almighty Disposer of all things delivered me from the cruel imprisonment I underwent.
But I have since lost a battle, in which most of those who preserved their loyal integrity fell before my eyes. I am now forced out of my kingdom, and driven to such straits that, next to God, I have no hope but in your goodness. I beseech you therefore, my dearest sister, that I may be conducted to your presence, that I may acquaint you with all my affairs.
In the meantime, I beseech God to grant you all heavenly benedictions, and to me patience and consolation, which last I hope and pray to obtain by your means.
To remind you of the reasons I have to depend on England, I send back to its Queen this
token, the jewel of her promised friendship and assistance.
Your affectionate sister,