Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Dream Castles

Susan Johnson


Students construct a medieval castle after studying related vocabulary, listening to a book, and completing a worksheet concerning the parts of a castle.


The student understands various aspects of family life, structures, and roles in different cultures and in many eras (e.g., pastoral and agrarian families of early civilizations, families of ancient times, and medieval families).


-LOOK INSIDE A CASTLE. Laura Driscroll, 1998, New York, Grosset & Dunlap (this book can be found at Target)
-DAYS OF THE KNIGHTS. Christopher Maynard. 1998. New York. DK Publishing
-Teacher-made vocabulary sheet
-Medieval castle worksheet (picture of castle - can be found in the file)
-3x5 index cards with castle vocabulary and definitions to be matched by students (teacher made, using given vocabulary sheet, which can be found on day 2 in procedures)
-Castle material list for parents: tinfoil, boxes, construction paper, paint, toothpicks, silver tape, cloth, string and toilet rolls.
-Be sure these words are put on the parts of the castle (for identification): 1. moat 2. gatehouse 3. drawbridge 4. portcullis 5. towers 6. turret 7. wall walk 8. outside walls 9. keep 10. bailey 11. flags
-Rubric for how student's castle will be graded (provided for students and parents.)


1. Gather books.
2. Make copies of castle sheet, vocabulary, rubric sheets, and parent material sheet for castle construction.
3. Prepare 3x5 cards with the vocabulary words and meanings for students to match.


Day 1: Students listen carefully as I read LOOK INSIDE A CASTLE.
Discuss story together, being sure to include mention of each vocabulary word given below.

Day 2: Give students a copy of the vocabulary words to study for home work that night. Give students laminated contruction paper cards (which have definitions and vocabulary words taken from the teacher-made vocabulary sheet). Students with cards will come to the front of the room and match the words with the definitions. The children will raise their hands if they have a definition or a vocabulary word to match the person the teacher has called on. This is used as a review that day and before following directions that are given the next day, for the castle work sheet, which they will do as a formative assessment (which they will do from oral directions, or the teacher may make a sheet with written directions.)
These are the vocabulary words to put on index cards and make a study sheet from. There is an attached file.
1. moat- trench around the castle filled with water to keep people out
2. towers-on corners of outside walls
3. turret-small tower on a larger tower used as a lookout post
4. gatehouse-protected entrance to a castle
5. drawbridge-bridge lowered so a person could cross the moat
6. portcullis-large grill door.
7. wall walk-top of outside walls where soldiers stand to defend the castle
8. keep-inside the castle walls where the family lives
9. bailey-land enclosed by the outside walls
10. flag-represents the family and is on the castle towers

Day 3. Follow oral directions from the castle worksheet: (the teacher may want to print this form.)
1. Put a spider on the portcullis.
2. Draw a fierce looking man on the wall walk.
3. Put an alligator in the water in the moat and color it blue.
4. Put a green flag on top of the turret.
5. Draw an arrow showing where the bailey and the keep are located.
6. Place a man standing by the gatehouse.
7. Put fish under the drawbridge.
8. Draw two men standing on each tower.

Day 4. Have children construct a castle labeling the ten parts. This will be homework using materials from home. (See parent materials in file). This activity is for third grade and is one part of a unit on the Middle Ages. The purpose of the castle construction is for an assessment, fun, parent involvement,and student knowledge of how people lived and interacted within the castle community.

These words go with the book DAYS OF THE KNIGHTS:
lord-powerful men who owned the castle
armorer-men who made armor
monk-a religious man
knights- soldiers who were loyal to a lord and fought battles for him
squire-a boy or man training to be a knight
court jester-a man who entertained guests of the lord
servants people who waited on the lord and his family


Use a scoring rubric (see the associated file). Students will be given the rubric before they construct their castle so they will know what is expected for a grade along with the castle sheet, parent material sheet,and vocabulary sheet.


As an extension to the lesson a teacher could read DAYS OF THE KNIGHTS by Christopher Maynard. There are eight chapters in this book. The teacher could read two chapters a day.
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