Castles, Knights and Dragons

Castles, Knights and Dragons

Our Castles, Knights and Dragons topic has a historical focus on what life was like in the medieval period for different people with different occupations and wealth. The children question, research, and act out the different occupations to gain a real insight into ordinary people’s lives in the medieval period.

We begin the topic by asking the children to complete 'Learning Towers'. This is an opportunity for them to show us what they already know about castles and knights and what they would like to find out. This helps to inform our planning as we can excite their interests as well as achieving the objectives through irresistible learning experiences.

Our cross-curricular approach to the topic means that the children get to learn more about dragons through their English work. We use the text ‘Tell Me A Dragon’ by Jackie Morris to produce different text types such as missing posters and descriptions. This is brought to life by making dragon eggs, going on a dragon hunt and painting dragons using water-colours in the style of Jackie Morris.

We focus on up-skilling the children’s vocabulary in their writing when they learn the information text 'The Manchester Ridge-Back Dragon' off by heart using Pie Corbett's 'Talk For Writing' strategies. The children then use this text to innovate their own information text about their own species of dragon. 

These are some of the texts that we read and study throughout this topic:

In Design and Technology the children learn about wind-up mechanisms and they use this to make a drawbridge. 


We then set a competition to use the 6Rs, learning skills and attitudes, to build a castle with a wind-up drawbridge. The children have a budget of £5 to spend at the 'shop'. This is a team-building activity with a cross-curricular link to money (Maths) and budgeting and spending (PSHE). The teams have to plan the resources that they will need to purchase to create their castle for example masking tape, string and paper. The budget helps the children to take the initiative of eliminating unnecessary items and planning an organised shopping list. They show reciprocity when they work collaboratively in teams to plan and design. This activity teaches the children to take risks, communicate clearly and persevere.  

In Art the children study the artist Paul Klee with a focus on ‘Castle and Sun’.

After learning about his techniques using shapes and colours, the children are motivated and inspired to create their own imaginative version of ‘Castle and Sun’. Don’t they look brilliant?

To enrich the children's learning experiences further we visit Tamworth Castle. This trip is thoroughly enjoyed by all of the children as they get to meet the Lord and Lady, dress a knight with real armour and tour the rooms of the castle. 

Click here to visit Tamworth Castle's website