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Castle in the Countryside

Imagine you lived in a castle in France, Germany, or Italy during the Middle Ages. What crops would grow on the land? Grapes, of course!

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research information about the architecture of castles in Europe or other areas of the world. Find out what crops were grown on the castle lands, and the kinds of climates necessary for growing them. Then prepare to make a replica castle—and perhaps life-size grapes or other crops! Small groups might work together on this project.
    2. Sculpt the castle. On a clean, washable surface, roll out a large, thick piece of Crayola® Air-Dry Clay. Cut it into a rectangle. Use a toothpick or craft stick to crosshatch the two ends. Roll the slab into a cylinder for the castle keep. Slightly wet one side of the cross-hatching with your finger. Press ends together.
    3. Use a toothpick to create a stone-like exterior. If you wish, add a door or window. Make turrets by adding squares at the top. Include more walls, a gatehouse, a moat, or other parts of castles, too. Attach these pieces in the same manner with cross-hatching and wetting slightly.
    4. Shape grapes. Roll clay between your palms into several small balls. Attach grapes to each other by pressing slightly after lightly wetting them. Sculpt a stem and leaf if you’d like.
    5. Air-dry your castle and grapes for at least 3 days. Castles were often whitened with lime, but you may want to paint your structure or the grapes for a more realistic look.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area.

    LA: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

    LA: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to the situation.

    SCI: Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Students sketch a map of the world as it appeared during the Middle Ages using Crayola Markers. Organize the students into small groups and have them choose a castle type to investigate. Suggestions include: Motte and Bailey castles, Timber castles, and Concentric castles.

    "What were the Middle Ages? Students research the time period known as the Middle Ages and significant events from the time period. Topics include: the role of religion and the Crusades; Middle Ages clothing; Middle Ages farming/foods; weapons of the era; Feudalism; King Edward I; William the Conqueror; Johann Gutenberg; the lives of women; etc. Students organize their research for presentation to classmates.

    Investigate other foods that were commonly available to people during the Middle Ages? What was a typical evening meal?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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