Suggested Activities for Specific Subject Areas

 

These activites are meant to encourage teachers and students to go beyond the information presented in this guide.

 

Social Studies:

  1. Draw and color the French flag. Compare it to the U.S. flag. What do the colors stand for in each flag? Which came first? Is there a historical relationship between the two flags? The Mississippi flag has a Confederate flag within it. Using the information you discovered in your research about the French and U.S. flags, what could be the reason for this? What do you think about it? If you were asked to redesign the Mississippi flag, what would it look like? Draw it and write about what the colors, symbols, designs, etc. stand for. Design a flag for your city, your school, your family.
  2. Create a time line for France and United States during the 1600's and 1700's.
  3. What major cities in the United States are the same latitude as Versailles? What factors affect the climate in both places? How would those factors affect the economy of both places?
  4. How would your classroom be different if your teacher were an absolute ruler? Create an absolute monarchy in your classroom.
  5. How many square miles/kilometers are in France? Which state is similar in size to France? How does the size of France in miles/kilometers compare with Mississippi?
  6. Plan a trip to Versailles. What will be the cost of your flight? What airlines can you take? Which cities in the U.S. have flights to France? How much will food and accommodations cost? What is the total cost in U.S. dollars? in French francs? What kinds of foods will you be eating? How many francs are in one dollar? What French expressions should you know? What kinds of clothing should you pack? Where, besides Versailles, should you visit? How will you get there?
  7. Research and prepare a presentation about a French explorer who explored Mississippi. Your presentation should include some of the following:
      • dress as the person and tell in first person your experiences, impressions, problems;
      • write a report;
      • write and produce a play;
      • draw a map of Mississippi showing your travels;
      • create your own original presentation/product.
  8. Using a map of Europe or a world map locate France using both absolute and relative methods.
  9. Study the changes made to the land in order to build the palace and gardens of Versailles.
  10. Using the Voices of Versailles, compare and contrast Louis XIV’s views on his goals and actions to the Duke of St. Simon’s views of Louis’ goals and actions.
  11. Study the education system of the period (1600's and 1700's). How does it compare with the education system in France today? To the current American education system?
  12. Find primary documents (letters, journals, diaries, treaties) from the 1600's. What can you tell about life during that time from these documents?

 

Mathematics:

  1. Learn Roman numerals. Why did the kings use Roman numerals as part of their names?
  2. Draw a scale floor plan of the Palace on graph paper.
  3. The Hall of Mirrors is 237' long and 33' wide. How much carpeting would they need to carpet the floor? The walls are 43' high and one wall consists of mirrors surrounded by gold carvings. How much glass cleaner would you need to clean the mirrors?
  4. Look for and identify geometric shapes in photographs of the gardens and architecture of Versailles. Make a geometric design that copies the patterns of those shapes.
  5. Study the lives and contributions Sir Isaac Newton and of Leibnitz, who each claimed to have been the first to discover integral and differential calculus in the 17th century.
  6. Compute the total area of Versailles.
  7. Contrast the birth rate and other demographic information in France during the 1600's with those of the United States in the 1990's.
  8. What is the exchange rate between francs and dollars? What would be the current dollar value of Marie Antoinette’s stolen necklace?
  9. Contrast the metric system created in 1795, with our system of feet and inches. How did each system begin? What form of measurement was used previously? What are the advantages of using the metric system?
  10. How many time zones are between France and Mississippi?
  11. Create a tessellation using symbols found in the architecture and gardens of Versailles.
  12. Calculate the distance from Versailles to your classroom in miles and kilometers.

 

Language Arts:

  1. Greet your students in French everyday.
  2. Research a significant individual from Versailles and present your findings in a monologue, a diary, or other product.
  3. Find a story about or from France (see list in this Guide) and read it aloud in class.
  4. Watch a video about France or the biography of a famous French person.
  5. Identify a famous French playwright and read or perform one of his plays.
  6. Write a poem about life at Versailles during the 1600's and 1700's.
  7. Study French philosophers, such as Rousseau, Voltaire, or Diderot, and give a written or oral report about how his ideas influenced the French Revolution, the American Revolution, or contemporary thought.
  8. Find French words that are part of our American vocabulary, such as garage, croissant, rouge. What do these words mean in French?
  9. What are the meanings of the words "Versailles" and "Baroque?"
  10. With the help of the French teacher in your district, contrast the sentence structure of French and English.
  11. Listen to French conversation. How are voice inflections different from English ones?
  12. Listen to Baroque music. Draw a picture that represents the feelings expressed in the music. How do these feelings relate to absolutism?
  13. Learn basic French conversation.
  14. King Louis XIV was known as the Sun King. Mythological characters were used in the decor at the Palace of Versailles to illustrate the king’s power and grandeur. Suppose you were a king or queen. After studying mythology, choose a god or symbol to represent your monarchy. Explain orally or in writing why you made the choice and what ideas you hope the symbol or god will convey.
  15. Versailles is full of many treasures of the royal family of France. Does your family have treasures that have lasted for years and years? Are there books, jewelry, furniture, letters, etc., that once belonged to your ancestors that your family still has? Write about your family treasures and share with your class what you have written or the treasure itself (with yourparents’ permission).
  16. Write to one of the following addresses and tell them you want a pen pal from France. Give your name and address in your letter, and your e-mail address if you have one. Begin a correspondence with your new pen pal.

    International Pen Friends Worldwide Pen Friends
    P.O. Box 290065 P.O. Box 6896
    Brooklyn, NY 11229 Thousand Oaks, CA 91359

  17. Use the mythology represented in Versailles as examples of the importance of literary allusion. Investigate the mythology represented in Versailles.
  18. What was it like to be a child of the king, or a child of a peasant during the this time period?

 

Science:

  1. Research one of the famous French inventions from the 1600's and 1700's, such as

    • the invention of stockings and fountain pens (1657)
    • the introduction of uniforms and paper cartridges for guns (1670)
    • the introduction of popular magazines (1672)
    • the popularization of ice cream (1677)
    • the first waterproof umbrella (1637)
    • the world’s first postage stamp (1653)
    • the first pressure cooker, steam pump, and steamboat (Denis Papin)

    What influence did these inventions have on life at Versailles?

  2. Study the contributions of scientists from this era, such as the ones listed below. How were these scientists received by royalty? By the public in general?
    • Galileo
    • Bernoulli
    • Pascal
    • Edmond Halley
    • Christiann Huygens
    • Isaac Newton
    • D.B. Fahrenheit
    • Lady Mary Worthley Montague
    • M. Guillotin
  3. Study the water system at Versailles.
  4. Study medicine in the 1600's. Compare and contrast it to current medical practices.

 

Geography: (Concentrating on the fundamental themes of geography)

Material adapted from K-6 Geography and 7-12 Geography: Themes, key ideas, and learning opportunities. 1989. Geographic Education National Implementation Project.