For well over a millennium, Western Europe was unified by religious orthodoxy to the Roman Catholic Church. Although the church had been challenged on numerous occasions, religious uniformity only began to collapse during the 16th century during the period known as the “Protestant Reformation.”    


The attached lesson plan allows students to practice their historical thinking skills and reasoning processes as they study this topic. They will read and discuss multiple sources, including a secondary source used to discuss the opening question and a DBQ consisting of seven short primary sources regarding changes in interpretations and practices in 16th century Europe. They will also practice techniques used to answer free response questions which are worded in the current AP® European History language.


The goal is for students to leave this lesson with a better understanding of the events of the Age of Reformation as well as a better grasp of the historical thinking skills and reasoning processes needed for success on the AP® exam.





Lou Gallo is a College Board AP® European History and United States History consultant who leads summer institutes nationally. He currently teaches both courses at West High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, and also teaches AP® European History online at Dwight Global, based in New York City. He has also served in a leadership role at the AP® European History reading since 2000 and is a Senior Reviewer of the AP® European History coursebook by AMSCO®.