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Magical Courtly Structure

Build an imaginative fortress, castle, or chateau using Crayola® Model Magic®.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. During an investigation into medieval time period, ask students to research what materials, designs, and construction methods were used to build castles beginning in medieval times. Then imagine ways to whimsically embellish some of the features. Can towers be topped with shimmering hearts? Could the outside walls be colorful?
    2. Organize students into small groups to design a playful Magical Courtly Structure with colored Crayola® Model Magic®. Start with a base of cardboard, foam board, or chipboard. Use straws or other items as structural supports.
    3. Invite students to experiment with different ways to create color effects. Blend white and colored compound to create tints, or mix colors and black to make shades. Blend two primary colors (red, yellow, blue) together to produce a secondary hue (orange, green, violet). Create a marble effect by incompletely blending different colors. For multi-colored layers, flatten two or more pieces of Model Magic by hand or with a rolling pin or dowel stick. Stack the pieces flat on top of each other and roll tightly like a cinnamon roll. Cut segments with Crayola Scissors. Connect pieces to make forms.
    4. Try various methods to construct forms for the main castle, outdoor stairs, chimneys, as well as stables, courtyards, a chapel, and moat. Towers and turrets: Roll out Model Magic with a rolling pin or dowel to about 1/4-inch thick. Bend the flat piece to form a cylinder. Poke or cut holes for windows. Allow the form to stiffen slightly. Meanwhile, roll out smaller amounts and bend into cone shapes for the roof. Place on top of the tower. Walls and curtain walls: Roll out Model Magic and cut into rectangles with scissors. Attach walls to towers or other walls. Cut slots for drawbridge arms. Embellishments: Cut small shapes for shingles, crenellations, stones, merlons, or other architectural details. Roll spheres and apply to walls and towers for decoration. Roll thin coils and glue around window openings.
    5. Use Crayola School Glue or dampened fingers to secure pieces as needed. Design and leave a mason's mark (a symbol for each partner) in one of the castle's "stones." When the castle is complete, use Crayola Washable Glitter Glue to decorate it and add magical sparkle.
    6. Groups prepare a written statement to accompany their artwork that summarizes their research and states how they used this knowledge to create their castle.
    7. Display castles and group writing in a prominent place in the classroom for classmates to view.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    SS: Identify and describe factors that contribute to cooperation and cause disputes within and among groups and nations.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Knights And Castles by Mary Pope Osbourne; Castle by David Macauley; Castles by Stephanie Turnbull

    Students create a floor plan for their castles, including ground, labeling of each room, and a description of the purpose of each area. Use Crayola Model Magic to create characters that live in the castle, designing character clothing appropriately for the time period.

    Working in teams, students collaborate to write a story about a significant event that is focused around the castle.

    Design a coat of arms for the knight that lives in the castle. Research its meaning. Write a brief summary of the background of the coat of arms.

    Students investigate the Middle Ages. When did the Middle Ages occur? What was life like during this time period? What types of jobs did people work at? What did people eat? Summarize research and organize it into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.


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