Week 6: Castles (450 AD to 1500 AD)


Read K – 3: Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole

4– 6: Knights & Castles by Will Osborne & Mary Pope Osborne (Chps 1 – 5; & Chps 9 – 10)

7– 8: Knights & Castles by Will Osborne & Mary Pope Osborne (entire book)


  • When were most castles built? (During the Middle Ages)
  • What were the first castles made of? (wood)
  • Why did people start building them from stone? (stronger, wouldn’t burn)
  • Describe the following castle parts: Keep? (great look-out tower in the middle of the castle)
  • Portcullis? (sliding door of iron bars leading into castle)
  • Moat? (water around castle)
  • Drawbridge? (Wooden doorway that could be opened over the moat or to close up the castle)
  • Who were some important craftsman inside the castle and what did they do? (blacksmith – made tools and other objects from metal)
  • Carpenter (Worked to repair things made of wood)
  • Stone Mason (Worked to repair things made of stone)
  • Who was the Lord? (owner of the castle)
  • Who was the Lady? (his wife – she was in charge of running the castle while he was away)
  • Who were the “Ladies-In-Waiting”? (Companions and helpers to the Lady of the Castle)
  • Explain the difference between Knights, Squires, Pages, & Men-at-Arms. (Knights were horse-riders and protectors of the castle; squires were their assistants; pages were young boys who would eventually be squires; Men-At-Arms were foot soldiers who fought for their Lord)
  • Who were some other workers at the castle? (cooks, servers, scullions [cleaners] stable boys, etc.)
  • What were Peasants and what did they do? (farmers who took care of the land around the castle)
  • What does it mean if a castle is under Siege? (Enemy army surrounds the castle)
  • What were Siege towers (or belfrys)? (wooden towers on wheels that could be pushed close to the castles, making it easier for men to get in)
  • How were castle windows designed? (slits in the stone so archers could shoot out but enemies couldn’t get in)
  • What were catapults? (Large wooden slingshots that could hurl stones)
  • What other ways could enemies attack? (flaming arrows; cut off food or water supply; dig tunnel to ruin part of castle’s foundation)
  • What was the danger of being under siege for too long? (castle dwellers could starve to death)
  • How could people defend their castle? (dropping hot sand, boiling oil, and stones; shooting arrows; send messages to call for help)
  • How were castles decorated? (beautiful tapestries)
  • What types of entertainment did Lords & Ladies have at their castles? (music, jugglers, jesters, minstrels)
  • Why did people stop building castles? (Cannonballs & gunpowder made it easy to destroy castle walls)

Questions for Grades 4 – 8:

  • What was scaffolding? (Wooden framework used to help build castles)
  • At what age did many Lords & Ladies get married? (14)
  • What was the job of the castle chaplain or priest? (lead prayers, conduct religious services, perform marriages, teach children)
  • Describe how Lords & Ladies dressed? (Ladies: long dresses, covered hair, fancy hats, Lords: tights & tunics, large hats)
  • What were murder holes? (holes in upper floors of the castle; if an enemy got in, arrows or rocks could be sent through to kill intruders)
  • What was the dungeon? (dark, damp basement room where prisoners were kept)

Activities K – 2: Build your own castle out of Legos or blocks. Try to include the following: a keep, a drawbridge, and a moat.  (You can use construction paper for the moat.)
3 – 5:   Label the parts of a castle.  Print out this worksheet and paste the names of the castle parts in the appropriate spaces. You may need to look up a few of the “Castle Feature” definitions in a dictionary to complete the worksheet.  Then, build your own castle out of empty cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls.  You can look on Google images for ideas:  Try typing the words “Castles made from cardboard” for lots of cool pictures.
7 – 8: Using the picture of a Medieval Castle on this site for help: draw your own detailed picture of a medieval castle.  Also, include a siege tower and a catapult in your drawing.  Then, label the following:  the portcullis, moat, drawbridge, arrow slits, keep, barbican, bailey, parapet walk, siege tower, and catapult.


Copyright July 18th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette



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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Dark & Middle Ages

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