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The task:
You are a Medieval Castle builder living in Wales in the year 1176. You are hired by the Norman Baron Reidshyre to build him a fantastic castle in Westsydwythe. The population of Westsydwythe is approximately 300 serfs, 150 soldiers in residence, a household staff of about 50 people and approximately 20 family members.
The Baron wants his castle to be not only beautiful, but also to be the strongest castle of defense ever built. You are confident that you can build the Baron this castle because you have the technology to search out different castles all over the world and select the best features from each one.
1. Online Encyclopedias to use:
World Book Online
Britannica Encyclopedia Online

2. General Websites:
Castles For Kids
Inside a Castle - Castles For Kids
Castles of Britian - Castle Learning Centre
Medieval Castles - CastleXplorer
Parts of a Castle
English Castles
Castles and the Medieval World
Castles in Medieval Times
The Castle Throughout the Ages
Architecture and Medieval Castle Design
Castle Walls (Also Called Curtain Walls)
Middle Ages

Before you can begin the castle design, you must first become familiar with the Medieval people who are going to inhabit this castle. It is important for each of you to research the purpose of the castle and become familiar with the daily life of a Medieval castle.
A. General Encyclopedias to use:
World Book Online
Britannica Encyclopedia Online

B. General Websites to use:
People of the Castle - Castles For Kids
Inside a Castle - Castles For Kids
Life in a Medieval Castle - Part One: The Hall
Castle Learning Center - Castles of Britain
Medieval Period
Medieval Knights
Castles in Medieval Times
Medieval Castle Life: Children
Middle Ages
Medieval Period
The Lifestyle of Medieval Peasants

After researching and taking notes on what daily life in a Medieval castle is like you will then begin the design of the Barons' new castle. Be sure to follow the Baron's list of things he wants to have in the castle and then you may use your imagination to design the rest.
Your design may take the shape of a:
  • Three-dimensional hand drawn poster
  • Three-dimensional model
  • Castle siege Equipment: (Trebuchet, Mangonel, Battering Ram, Ballista and/or Siege Tower) - Make sure that it really works!


Medieval Arms Race
Castle Siegecraft and Defence
Castles of Britain
Castle Defenses: Castle Defense Architecture
Medieval Weapons
Castles in Medieval Times
How To Build A Trebuchet
Middle Ages
Medieval Siege Engines
Siege Engines and Weapons

Your design must be complete and detailed and must give the viewer a true sense of what the castle will look like when it is actually built.



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Build a Medieval Castle
Make a Paper and Cardboard Medieval Castle
Castles - Warmaster Paperware
Cardboard Box Castle - Enchanted Learning
Build a Medieval Castle
The making of a realistic scale model of a medieval castle (Scale 1:150) - You Tube


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Trebuchet Plan
How To Build A Catapult
How To Build A Trebuchet

PART 1 - Journal: Daily Life Research Notes & Create a Journal & Paragraphs:
To begin your research look at the castle books in the Library, check the internet sites listed here and look at the class handouts. They will give you a good look at daily life in a Medieval castle. Keep a Builder's Journal (use a duotang or create a booklet) in which you record all of the important aspects of castle daily life so that you can address these areas in the design of the Baron's castle. It is recommended that groups create and complete this in Google Docs.
Your Builders Journal will include:
  • Cover Page
  • Be a duotang or in a booklet form
  • Include notes on castle life using the note taking sheets provided by the Teacher-Librarian
  • Your notes turned into well-written paragraphs (proofread by everyone in your group)

Part 2 - Journal: The Barons' Castle Specifications Definitions:
Once you have taken notes on the life of the castle inhabitants, you are ready to review Baron Reidshyre's specific requirements. Write the definition of each word on a sheet of paper and keep it for your reference in your Builder's Journal. Be sure not to leave out anything the Baron wants as he is not very forgiving. So you must review the list carefully.
Terms you must define in your builders journal:
1. The Outer and Inner Bailey
16. Crenel
2. Wall, or Curtain
17. Tunnel
3. Keep
4. Drawbridge
19. Tower
5. Parapets
20. Battering Ram
6. Corbels
21. Trebuchet
7. Machicolations
22. Mangonel
8. Moat
23. Great Hall
9. Barbican
24. Dungeon
10. Postern Gate
25. Cesspit
11. Arrow Loops
26. Food Storage
12. The Portcullis
27. Chapel
13. The Gatehouse
28. Fireplace
14. Murder Holes
29. Garderobe
15. Cistern
30. Turret

The more definitions that you have the higher the mark you will receive. You can also add more terms to this list.

Glossary: Castle Learning Centre
Castle Terminology - Definition of a Castle
Glossary of castle terminology - CastleXplorer
Glossary of (castle and church terms) - All About All Crusades

PART 3 - Castle Research, Layout and Design - Blueprint
Once you have made a list of all off Baron Reidshyre's requests (in your builders journal), you may begin researching other castles for design ideas. As you browse through other castles, be sure to look for features that will help you make the Barons' castle as strong as possible. In other words, it must be able to withstand the strongest and longest attack from an enemy.
Now that you have researched several castles it is time to begin a blueprint of the Baron's castle. Begin by establishing the dimensions of the case. Be sure it is large enough to accommodate all of the castle inhabitants, including the serfs, in case of a siege.
Next, draw an outline of the main castle and all of the outbuildings that you will need. Remember, food capacity is crucial to survive in case the castle is under siege. Some sieges lasted for over a year in Medieval times!
Use a ruler to draw the dimensions of the castle to scale. Drawing to scale means you must choose a standard scale for measuring so that each building is in proportion to the others. Be sure that each area of your blueprint is clearly marked with dimensions and has its function clearly labeled. This should be done on a large piece of paper.

Now that you have completed your blueprint, begin the construction of the model. Your rendering may take the form of a three-dimensional poster or a three-dimensional model. Your materials will vary depending on the type of model you produce.
external image Coucy+Castle+model.jpg

You will need the following materials to complete the assignment:
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Whatever materials needed to construct the castle model (pop cans, paper mache, toilet paper rolls, cardboard, paper cups, pop bottle caps, Popsicle sticks, sugar cubes, etc. ....)
  • Duotang folder for Builders Journal

In conducting your research, use the "magical device" known as the Internet to help you locate other castles. No one Medieval history knows what the Internet is, so the Baron will be impressed by how much information you gathered and how fast your horse rode all over Europe!

Your castle will be judged on how well you cover the following areas.
  • Research on the background of Medieval daily life
  • Covering all of the Barons specific requests for the castle
  • Creative design of the castle
  • Strong defensive features

To be handed out to complete when the castles are due.

  • Builder's Journal (includes vocabulary defined) with Castle Life notes included ) /20)
  • Castle Blueprint ( /10)
  • Three-dimensional Castle Poster OR Three-dimensional Castle Model OR Siege Weapons ( /60)
  • Castle Reflection Questions ( /10)

Fact Fragment Frenzy
How to get information pared down to the essential facts
Ideas about notetaking and citing sources