Stained Glass & Cathedrals

Week 9: Stained Glass & Cathedrals


Read K – 5: Looking at Glass Through the Ages by Bruce Koscielniak

6 – 8: Looking at Glass Through the Ages by Bruce Koscielniak AND Cathedral by David Macaulay



  • What ingredients are needed to make glass? (sand & soda ash [which is made by burning plants or hardwood]. These ingredients are heated at very high temperatures to make glass.)
  • What glass items did the Ancient Egyptians create? (beads, glass containers)
  • What is glassblowing? (Workers blow through a long, metal tube into a gob of molten glass to create glass items.)
  • During the Middle Ages glassmakers were able to invent a clear, colorless glass. What was this glass used to produce? (spectacles and magnifying glasses)
  • How were different glass colors created? (by adding metal or metal oxides to the glass mixture)
  • How was colored glass used in the Middle Ages? (stained glass windows for Cathedrals)
  • Why are these windows so famous? (works of art; tell Bible stories through pictures)
  • How were stained glass pieces held in place? (grooved strips of lead & iron in framework)
  • Name other great use for glass created in the Middle Ages? (mirrors)
  • How are mirrors created? (back of a piece of glass is coated with a thin, reflective layer of tin, silver, or other metal)
  • How is most glass produced today? (by machine)
  • Do glassmakers and glassblowers still exist? (yes, create works of art)
  • What glass items do you find the most beautiful or interesting to look at? (answers will vary)

Questions for grades 6 – 8:

  • About how many years did it take to construct the Cathedral in this book? (almost 100)
  • Name some of the specific skilled workers needed to create the Cathedral? (quarrymen, stone cutters, sculptors, mortar makers, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, roofers, glassmakers, plasterers, & painters)
  • Compare cathedrals of the Middle Ages in size to local peasants’ homes? (Enormous!)
  • Why were such magnificent cathedrals built? (for glory of God)
  • What were relics? (religious artifacts – believed to once belong to Jesus or one of the saints)
  • How was money raised through relics? (people would pay to come see them)
  • What were cathedral windows made from? (stained glass)
  • What was scaffolding? (wooden temporary support frames used for builders to work on)
  • Was work on a cathedral sometimes dangerous? (yes, people could fall from the scaffolding)
  • What musical instruments did many cathedrals contain? (bells)


K – 2: Make a stained glass window from construction paper and tissue paper (in various colors) using the instructions from this site and youtube video:

3 – 6: Write 3 short paragraphs describing new things you learned about glass from your reading assignment.

7 – 8: Write 3 paragraphs describing the following:

  • Glass in the Middle Ages
  • Cathedrals in the Middle Ages
  • You have been hired to work on a Cathedral. You must choose one of the following positions: quarryman, stone cutter, sculptor, mason, carpenter, black smith, roofer, glassmaker, plasterer, or painter. Which position would you choose? Why?

Copyright August 9th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette





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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Dark & Middle Ages

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